IndyCar Iowa Speedway Notes

Friday News and Notes From Iowa:

• Pole-sitter Takuma Sato and his front-row mate Danica Patrick both agreed that should they be in the lead on a two-wide restart, they each would choose the inside lane. “On a tight track like this, that is the place to be,” noted Sato who captured his first Izod IndyCar Series pole. Patrick said that if you’re on the bottom it’s a shorter distance around the track. She did add, however, that if the car is tight and begins to push up the track, being on the outside might give you more room to adjust. Ever the optimist, Patrick also said that, “There have been weekends where I’ve been good in practice and had bad races, and times where I’ve been bad in practice and good in the race. So it’s hard to say if I’m going to have a good day tomorrow.” Patrick, whose front row starting spot is her best ever at Iowa, added that starting up front on a small (0.875 mi.) track has another advantage. “When the race starts, if you’re in the back, you’re already a half-lap down to the leaders.”

• Indiana open wheel rising star Bryan Clauson will be a busy driver again this weekend. Clauson, who has already collected two top-five finishes in his first ever Firestone Indy Lights races at Indianapolis and Milwaukee, will try for three when he competes in Saturday’s Sukup 100 at Iowa Speedway. He will pilot an entry for Sam Schmidt/Curb Agajanian Racing starting in third spot. He is also entered in USAC Silver Crown and Midget Series events at the track on Friday. Clauson faces quite a challenge switching from a rear-engine car to a more traditional front-engine mount. As a teenager Clauson also had some seat time in a NASCAR Busch Series car. This will be his first race at Iowa in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.

• Canadian-born actor and entertainer Dan Aykroyd has been chosen to be the Grand Marshal of the upcoming Honda Grand Prix on the streets of Toronto.

• With his next IndyCar series win, Target Ganassi driver Scott Dixon will move into a tie with Rodger Ward for 11th on the all-time Indy car wins list with 26.

• Simona De Silvestro passed an IMPACT test and an INDYCAR medical evaluation Wednesday, four days after her crash during qualifying for the Milwaukee 225. However, according to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger, she continued to display post-concussion symptoms on Friday at the Iowa Speedway and was not cleared to drive here. She will be tested again prior to racing at Toronto on July 10th.

• Only thirteen of the fourteen cars entered in the Sukup 100 Indy Lights race attempted qualifying runs Friday. Ireland’s Peter Dempsey replaced Chase Austin in Willy T. Ribbs’ entry.

• PPG Automotive Refinishes is the primary sponsor for Ryan Briscoe’s Team Penske mount this weekend at Iowa Speedway. The company will also be the primary on the No. 6 when Briscoe races at Toronto. PPG was also the sponsor of the PPG Cup from 1979-1999.

• Iowa Speedway is one of two ovals on the 2011 schedule where Team Penske has not recorded a win in Indy car competition. The team has never raced at Las Vegas.

• The Iowa Corn 225 will be the fifth IICS event at Iowa Speedway. Past winners include Tony Kanaan (2010), Dario Franchitti (2007, 2009), and Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon (2008) who is not competing this weekend. Kanaan will start third, while Milwaukee 225 winner Franchitti will line up sixth.

• With his Andretti Autosport teammates Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway starting in the top nine spots, Marco Andretti finds himself lining up in 17th. Remember what Danica said about starting near the back.

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