IndyCar Preview: Iowa Corn Indy 250

Bordered by an airport, an interstate highway and a corn field 30 miles east of Des Moines, the Iowa Speedway will present the Iowa Corn Indy 250; round ten on the nineteen-race IZOD Indy Car schedule.

Opened in 2006, the track first played host to Indy car racing in 2007, with Dario Franchitti capturing the inaugural event for Target Chip Ganassi.

With a seating capacity of 30,000, the Rusty Wallace-designed facility has provided tight and fast competition on its variable- banked 0.875 mile mini-super speedway.

Laps do go by quickly here as the track qualifying record for one lap is 17.648 sec.(182.360 mph), while the race-lap record is a dizzying-fast 17.490 sec. (184.005 mph).

Honda has won five of the six Indy car events held at the track, with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 2012 win the only one for Chevrolet.

Andretti Autosport has captured four wins here, including the last three by Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Hunter-Reay. Andretti won from the 17th starting spot while Kanaan won from 15th; indicating that races can be won here after starting deep in the field.

Franchitti’s win in 2007 and Hunter-Reay’s win in 2012 both led to series championships.

For 2013 James Hinchcliffe and RHR have each won twice with Hunter-Reay (MKE), Kanaan (Indy) and Helio Castroneves (TX) having won the three oval events.

The starting field for Sunday’s 250 will be determined by three 50-lap heat races on Saturday night. Prior to that, single-car qualifying runs will determine starting spots in the heats.

Castroneves’ Team Penske Chevrolet enters the event with a 16-point lead over RHR, while Andretti has fallen to third, 50-points behind after suffering electrical woes at Milwaukee.

Andretti Autosport has proven to be the strongest, most consistent team this season however, and things are not likely to change this week in corn country.

Target Chip Ganassi has yet to win in 2013, while Team Penske, once so dominant in the IICS, has won just once.

Unbelievably, Will Power’s third-place finish for Team Penske at Milwaukee Indy Fest was his best oval-track result since his fifth at New Hampshire in August, 2011. Power has won nine street/road course events since that New Hampshire race.

Whoever thought we’d see Dario in tenth place and Power in eleventh in the point’s race this late in the season?

An Andretti Autosport driver will likely win again this weekend, with two or three AA pilots sharing the Iowa podium.

• Takuma Sato’s team owner AJ Foyt will miss his fifth race of the season due to health issues.

• GO Wichita will sponsor the #67 Josef Newgarden entry for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Co-owner Wink Hartman is from Wichita. Hurco Companies will also be a supporter for SFH at Iowa. They recently installed tools at the team’s new Indianapolis facility.

• No driver has ever won an Indy car race at Iowa from the pole.

• Honda holds every track record at the short Iowa oval.

• Only four drivers (Marco, Helio, Dixon and TK) have competed in all six Iowa races.

• Twenty-four cars are entered for Sunday’s race. Ana Beatriz will drive again for Dale Coyne while Oriol Servia will replace Ryan Briscoe at Panther. Briscoe is scheduled to run in the 24 Hour endurance race at Le Mans, France.

• The race will be telecast on ABC at 2:30 pm (eastern). Sirius XM will carry the radio broadcast on channel 211.

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