Iowa Corn 300 Preview

Ryan Hunter-Reay and his Andretti Autosport teammates are looking for return to success at Iowa Speedway this weekend. [Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher]

Ryan Hunter-Reay and his Andretti Autosport teammates are looking for return to success at Iowa Speedway this weekend.  [Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher]


Michael Andretti and his Andretti Autosport team are looking forward to the Verizon IndyCar Series moving west this Saturday from Milwaukee to the Iowa Speedway; a track that has been more than friendly to the AA team over recent years.

The 0.894-mile banked oval, designed by NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, has hosted nine Indy car races since opening in 2006, and Andretti’s team has won six of those including the last five races in a row. Current drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012, 2014), Tony Kanaan 2010 and Marco Andretti 2011 have visited victory lane along with Dario Franchitti 2007 and James Hinchcliffe 2013.

Saturday’s Iowa Corn 300 will be the final event in a three-race stretch of oval track racing which has seen Graham Rahal (Fontana) and Sebastien Bourdais (Milwaukee) win for teams not named Penske, Ganassi or Andretti. Other oval track winners this year include Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon.

Rahal, who won a controversial race on the two-mile Fontana oval and hustled to a third-place at Milwaukee, is looking forward to trying his Honda-powered machine on the tight, but ultra-fast Iowa circuit.

“This has been the most successful year of my career,” explained Rahal, “and I think Iowa has been our strength the last couple of years. It’s going to be hard to catch Montoya to win the championship,” continued Rahal who has jumped to third-place in the standings, 69-points behind JPM. “That’s our goal this weekend in Iowa, to make sure we keep putting the team up front and try to give ourselves the best chance to win the championship.”

Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet driver Scott Dixon lies between Montoya and Rahal in the points chase and thinks the unique track, where he’s qualified well, hasn’t always been kind to him in the past.

“Iowa is such a little bullring, it’s so fast. The G-loadings that you’re getting and how quick they get the cars to perform (under 18-second laps) around the track is spectacular. I’ve been on the pole twice there and I’ve never been on the podium,” the three-time series champion said.”

Last year’s Iowa race saw Kanaan lead 247 of 300 laps, but a late-race stop for tires by Hunter-Reay allowed him to pass TK with two laps remaining and go on for the win. RHR made-up 10 spots in the final eight laps.

Several drivers struggled last week on the equally tight Milwaukee Mile including Will Power and Ryan Briscoe who collected the turn four wall on lap 130 and Hunter-Reay who finished thirteenth.

The tight Iowa oval usually brings out a flurry of caution flags and could bring a shakeup in the points behind the leader Montoya.


  • The Iowa race changed from 250 laps to 300 in 2014. The race covers 268.2 miles and the fastest qualifying lap on the shortest track that IndyCar visits is 186.809 mph posted last year by Castroneves.
  • Iowa Speedway is banked 10-12-degrees in the turns.
  • Thirty-eight drivers have scored points during the first 12 events this season.
  • At Milwaukee last week Castroneves gained 22 spots in the race after starting 24th.
    Not to be outdone, Rahal gained 11 places, going from 14th to 3rd in the final 25 laps.
  • The same 24 drivers who raced at Milwaukee will appear at Iowa.
  • Bourdais’ average running spot during the 250 laps at Milwaukee was 3.25.
  • Last Sunday’s Milwaukee race was the most watched IndyCar race on NBC Sports Network (532,000 viewers) since the Baltimore street race in 2011.
  • TV: Saturday Qualifying (same-day tape delay), 6:30 p.m. (ET) / Race (Live), 8:00p.m. (ET).
    Radio: Sirius 212/ XM 209. Also, for both qualifying and race.



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