James Hinchcliffe (center) tastes victory at Iowa Speedway.
Welcome to Iowa Speedway, home of the track that Rusty (Wallace) Built. Insert many cornfield montages here.
pressdog® beer of the race is New Belgium’s Fat Tire. I’m trackside at Iowa Speedway, which is only 45 minutes from pressdog WORLD Headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Before I fire up here, a huge thank you to all the fans who buy tickets and show up for the races at Iowa Speedway. The fans are really the rock stars of this place and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Manly tears for everyone who invests time, money and effort into making the trek out here and showing up for the race. PLUS, bit ups to the Iowa Corn Growers, because without their sponsorship we’re done here. TOAST.
Recap of the heat races which I watched at the track. Not bad, really. IndyCar gave everyone who made the third and final heat some championship points with nine going to the winner, who was Helio Castroneves. The top two finishers in heat 1 and 2 advanced to the tail of heat 3. All this gave drivers incentive to race, rather than just turn it into a long practice session as they did last year in the heats. What heat you were in was determined by a one-lap time trial earlier in the day with the fastest cars qualifying for the third heat.
James Jakes backed it into the wall in his heat, but that was the only casualty. I found it to be by far more interesting than traditional qualifying. Very dirt track-like approach and provided about an hour of action on Saturday night before the Firestone Indy Lights race.
Rained hard at Iowa Speedway Sunday morning, but it was done by 11:30 and the track was ready to go on time. Slight concern for a weeper between turns 3 and 4, but that was cleaned up without significant delay to the start and didn’t come back. Thankfully it was much cooler on Sunday than the humid 93 degrees we had on Sunday. That was brutal, but still had a comparatively great crowd for the heats and FIL race.
Cue the HAT (running order at the top of the screen). Yo yo yo to the graphics-generating B Unit who are all no doubt on a pork chop high right now. Watch the pork grease on the controls, people. This is a place of business.
Trackside Online starting order. Blake from TSO was in the house at Iowa kicking out the tastiness. I’m an eyewitness that the TSO guys work relentlessly at these races. It’s work to sit in the media center and pound it out all day, believe me. So big ups to them. For just $22 a calendar year you can get the resulting original content emailed right to you. Be like the pdog and subscribe today.
1. 12 Power, Will D/C/F
2. 27 Hinchcliffe, James D/C/F
3. 25 Andretti, Marco D/C/F
4. 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F
5. 11 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F
6. 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F
7. 4 Servia, Oriol D/C/F
8. 77 Pagenaud, Simon D/H/F
9. 98 Tagliani, Alex D/H/F
10. 19 Wilson, Justin D/H/F
11. 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F
12. 1 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/C/F
13. 55 Vautier, Tristan (R) D/H/F
14. 83 Kimball, Charlie D/H/F
15. 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F
16. 5 Viso, EJ D/C/F
17. 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F
18. 6 Saavedra, Sebastian D/C/F
19. 7 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F
20. 78 De Silvestro, Simona D/C/F
21. 10 Franchitti, Dario D/H/F
22. 67 Newgarden, Josef D/H/F
23. 18 Beatriz, Ana D/H/F
24. 16 Jakes, James D/H/F
Cars 3, 9, 14, 16, 18, and 67 penalized 10 grid spots for engine changes.
(R)= Rookie Chasis: D=Dallara | Engine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | Tire: F=Firestone
Let’s light this candle. We’re … green, green green.
THREE WIDE through 1& 2. Iowa Speedway’s bump gets massive air. There's bump in the track where it goes over the tunnel in between turns 1 and 2. Eddie tells us the lower down the track the more notable the bump and you got to respect the bump or it could toss you into turn 2 wall. Viewing enhanced.
Whether the bump is a character wrinkle or a LETHAL MENACE depends on what driver you talk to. Not many say LETHAL MENACE, but not all love the bump.
Lap 5 -- Two-wide with Rahal and Pags for about three laps here. Ed and Tony in a knife fight for P4.
Eddie tells us it’s a question of owning BOTH the position you want on the track and the clean air you want. Drivers are thinking about staying in good air all the time. Viewing enhanced again. Eddie is on a roll.
Ed working on Marco. His pit tells him to go to “fuel slot one.”
Lap 11 -- Eddie says the tire start to go away after about 25 laps. We’ll see if that’s right.
Lap 19 -- Ed reports something “doesn’t work for shit.” Not sure what something is.
Lap 22 -- Ed inhales Marco which makes me noticeably excited (raised eyebrows!). Replay Ed under Marco, Marco “defends but Ed is clear for P4.
Ed’s pit counsels him to be patient and take care of his tires.
Lap 25 : Hinch, Poewr, Marco, TK, Ed, Servia, Pagenaud, Rahal, Wilson, RHR.
Lap 30 -- Ed goes purple (fastest lap of the race so far), overtakes Power for P2 (!) two laps later.
Lap 37 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Day-bree (debris). Replay. RHR trying to dive under Rahal misjudges it and bashes his car front wing on the rear tire guards of Rahal car breaking RHR’s wing. He’ll have to pit. This non-cut tire and non-accident brought to you by the DW12’s “goofy” tire guards.
Ed reports that his car is “starting to get a little free.” HOLY NASCAR LINGO. I think that means loose. Not sure though. He says it’s pretty good up top and in traffic he is loose mid- to exit. They debate a half turn of front wing.
Festival of pitting. EVERYONE pits during this yellow period. Ed has to hold in the pit a second to let Bia clear. Good job by the crew chief holding him rather than sending him out right into Bia. Ed decided NOT to go with the front wing turn.
TK stops and the right front change is slow, plus the right front change has to pull a blocker out of the air intake on the right side pod because the car got some garbage up in there and is starting to heat.
RHR will restart P21, last car on the lead lap. The term “sticker tires” comes from the fact that new tires have a little six-inch rectangular sticker on them that tells the specifications. Helio’s team often keeps that sticker on their new sticker tires and sends him out with the sticker still on. Kind of old school and I like it. Cool to see the sticker flashing around on the tire for a little bit until it gets rubbed off.
Lap 52 -- restart. GREEN … FOUR WIDE into 1. Insert booth posse having a heart attack here. Dixon drops out to avoid the mayhem. RHR immediately jumps to hyper space and is already climbing. P18 in one lap.
Eddie reminds us that drivers are looking pretty far forward in this race to find “A: clean air and B: for the right line.” More viewing enhancement. I was no fan of Eddie’s when he first got into the booth because it seemed to me he was always saying he would have done everything much better, but lately he’s more about telling me what is in the driver’s head and telling us about the challenges like the one above and pertinent times. So props to the Edster.
Restart replay from an onboard that gives us a good view of the four-wide LUNACY into turn 1. Turn 2 was licking its chops at that moment.
<P>Lap 53: Hinch, ED, Power, Marco, Pags, Servia, Helio, Rahal, Tag, TK.
Lap 66 -- Replay of RHR violently inhaling Dario for P16. Dario’s car is a pig. Festival of Chippy swearing here. Probably tased his Honda rep to the ground multiple times during the day.
Lap 69 -- Bia gets monster air.
Lap 70 -- Ed’s pit again reminds him to be patient and take care of his tires.
Lap 71 -- Ed started P3 but overtook Power in P2 on the restart. Hinch is 1.6 seconds ahead of Ed.
Replay of Rahal and Servia touching tires a couple times. COTTON (Eddie and Goodyear) NEEDS SOME NEW SHORTS.
Lap 75: Hinch, Ed, Marco, Pags, Power, Helio, Servia, Rahal, TK, Dixon.
Lap 83 -- Rahal and Sato high/low around Tag. Big gasp where I was sitting. Some large attachments on both of those guys.
Lap 90 -- RHR is now up to P12. ABC doing a great job of tracking his charge through the field. Meanwhile, Power is fading. Back to P9 and gets overtaken by Dixon. Replay. Power way high “into the gray” (DRINK, ye BASTARDS) and loses a bunch of spots. Goodyear calls Power a “road course specialist” (DRINK, ye BASTARDS).
Lap 97 -- RHR up to P10. Insert epic rampaging soundtrack here.
Lap 100: Hinch, Marco, Rahal, Pags, TK, Ed, Servia, Helio, Dixon, RHR.
Lap 103 -- Rahal tries to dive under Andretti … no. Marco may have played subtle defense there. Insert obligatory “Rahal vs. Andretti” discussion here.
Lap 106 -- Ed says he’ll need a turn of front wing at the next stop.
Lap 111 -- Holy dirt track. Dario (I think) had a huge wiggle that the booth posse missed but I saw clearly. Big save from him. Note: whose idea was it to have four nearly identical yellow and blue or black cars in this race. Bia, Rahal, Dario and Kanaan are too close together in coloring.
Replay of Rahal overtaking Marco. Marco (my pick to win) is too pigged out today.
Lap 115 -- Second of four pit stops starting. Hinch pits from the lead on Lap 118. He has led all race. Wilson inherits the lead for a lap then pits. Good stop for Hinch and he gets out and retakes lead when Wilson pits.
Lap 131 -- Dario is a lap down in P22 .. and goes a second lap down.
Meanwhile, Rahal has climbed into P2 and is 1.4 seconds behind Hinch.
Vautier about walls it. Replay. Up the track and gets fishy. Hangs onto it though.
Lap 125: Hinch, Rahal, Marco, Pags, Servia, Dixon, Helio, RHR, TK, Viso.
Lap 132: Ed gets a pick from lapped Jakes and is clear of Power.
Lap 133 -- I see JoeNew and Vautier almost touch and Vautier goes waaaaay high into two.
Lap 138 -- yellow yellow yellow. Tag goes ass around after brushing the turn 2 wall and stalls. Replay “gets into the gray” DRINK, ye BASTARDS. Ed radios that they need to sweep pit out because it’s “filthy.”
Power is in P13 and has been lapped. Not a good day for Penske or Ganassi. Helio hanging around on the lead lap though. Ed Pits. Going off strategy here. Leaders stayed out.
Lap 148 -- GREEN. TK also pitted under that yellow and is back out in P10. Ed is in P9.
Lap 150 -- Hinch, Rahal, Marco, Pags, Dixon, RHR, Sevia, Viso, Helio, Ed.
Lap 155 -- yellow yellow yellow. Legit debris in the front straight. TV shows it to us and we even get a telestrated circle around the menacing day-bree.
Ed: “He’s such a jerk. He gave me a big swerve to the right going into three that time. Lap chart seems to indicate it was either Helio or Viso. Pit: “That’s a little unsportsmanlike.” Beer spew.
I see Rusty Wallace, the Super Deuce, working the crowd here.
Tag is back on pit road. He got back out after his spin-o-rama but his car is crap and he’s probably done.
Lap 156 -- Radio … Servia accuses Castroneves and Rahal of throwing block parties. “Being reactive” to the driver behind. The rule is you can change your line proactively but you can’t change your line in reaction to what a driver behind you is doing.
Lap 160 -- green. Rahal and Hinch. Two-wide and nearly touch.
Power is slowing. May have gotten into the gray (DRINK!) again. Sato is pitting and looks toast.
Lap 166 -- RHR up to P3. ABC did a great job tracking his march back through the field.
Lap 175 -- Hinch, Rahal, RHR, Pags, Marco, Servia, Helio, Ed, TK, Dixon.
Lap 181 -- Hinch is up by 1.8 seconds.
Lap 185 -- Bia is toast and pits. RHR and Rahal knife fighting for P2.
The action is so constant ABC can’t even go “up to speed” for the top 10 which is what they do when it’s lockstep.
Lap 189 -- Marco pits signaling a festival of final stops.
Lap 193 -- Rahal and RHR pit together and RHR beats him out of the pits. Pass for second (when they cycle through) in the pits.
Lap 196 -- Hinch pits and Ed leads. Ed is off strategy so he’s got a few laps of tires and fuel on the field right here.
Ed violently inhales Dario who has to be hating life right now.
Lap 200 -- Ed, TK, Wilson, Hinch, RHR, Rahal, Chuck Kimball, Pags, Marco, Helio.
Ed leads until Lap 214 (of 250) and pits. For a couple of laps there only Ed and Wilson were on the lead lap due to the pitting craziness.
SHIT. Right rear is slow on Ed’s car and they have to go back up on the jack to get it on right. Insert me spewing obscenities right here. Ed back out in P9. Has about 34 laps to charge forward on fresh tires.
Lap 217 -- Wilson pits and gets loooose coming in. Wilson also has a slow right rear change.
Lap 218 -- Ed has the wings back in the delta and is supersonic. He’s up to P8. I’m glue to Ed in the stands and ABC does a good job of recognizing his potential charge. Rahal and TK banging on track.
Lap 220 -- Ed is up to P7. I’m throwing severed chicken feet at his car from the stands to try and get the good juju going.
Lap 225 -- Hinch, RHR, Rahal, TK, Pags, Servia, Ed, Marco, Helio, Viso.
Lap 228 -- While Ed is charging ABC is doing well to cover the knife fight between the yellow cars (TK and Rahal). RHR is in P2 and starting to mount a charge at Hinch.
Vince says Dixon is on the rev limiter. Not a lot of love love love right now from Chippy toward Honda, I don’t expect.
10 cars on the lead lap.
Lap 237 -- KNIFE FIGHT between TK and Rahal on the track. ED is flat flying. Throws up his fastest lap of the race on Lap 221 and is in P5 by 237. Started P9 after last stop. I’m starting to chant “podium” to myself here.
Vince makes the great point that Kanaan’s tires are 17 laps fresher than Rahal’s.
TK closes on Rahal who says “welcome to the block party.”
Simona is having a Lotus-like day. She’s -7. Super pig. No idea why.
Lap 240 -- Hinch, RHR, Rahal, TK, Ed, Pags, Servia, Helio, Marco, Viso.
Lap 242 -- Cue the Slow Traffic Whining! RHR gets stuck behind Simona and above Vautier, both of whom are lapped. Simona was holding her line there but RHR couldn’t dive under her due to Vautier being there. He’s boxed for a few seconds so … Hinch should win barring air strike.
ED, however, is rampaging and ABC does a great job to bounce right to him once RHR was hosed.
Lap 244 -- Tony inhales Rahal, finally. Goodyear says Ed is charging.
Ed closing fast on Rahal for P4.
Lap 248 -- Ed has a go at Rahal on the high side and I thought, from the stands, Rahal said “Welcome to the block party!” Ed regrouping.
White -- Come on ED. ABC stays with it and Ed goes under Rahal in the back stretch .. CLEAR. Lap 250 pass for P4. Insert me beer spewing here. BONUS: Ed got Rahal just in time for ABC to switch to Hinch and show him crossing the line to win.
Hinch wins by 1.5 seconds. RHR will be pissy about traffic. TK gets a tough-fought P3. Ed gives me a heart attack and gets P4. Rahal settles for P5. 10 cars finished on lead lap.
Hinch’s radio: save the motor. So he immediately does some perfectly formed donuts in front of the grandstands. Nice. TK said Rahal was making himself wide but “what goes around comes around.” Rahal says everyone was making themselves wide including Hinch on the last restart.
Vince talks to Ed who said a bad second stint and slow last stop screwed them a little bit, but says it happens. He’s screwed up too and pissed away spots. That’s racin’. Vince calls Iowa Milwaukee RIGHT at the end. For me Vince’s minor flub was like a pitcher giving up a bloop single in the bottom of the ninth of a perfect game.
Trackside Online finishing order:
IZOD IndyCar Series
Iowa Corn Indy 250
Newton, Iowa - Results Sunday of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 0.894 mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (2) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
2. (12) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
3. (5) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
4. (4) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
5. (6) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
6. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
7. (7) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
8. (11) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
9. (3) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
10. (16) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
11. (10) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
12. (14) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
13. (13) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 248, Running
14. (19) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 248, Running
15. (22) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 248, Running
16. (15) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running
17. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 247, Running
18. (24) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running
19. (18) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 247, Running
20. (21) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 246, Running
21. (20) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 243, Running
22. (23) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 183, Mechanical
23. (17) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 162, Mechanical
24. (9) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 139, Contact
Winners average speed: 148.559
Time of Race: 01:30:16.0266
Margin of victory: 1.5009
Cautions: 3 for 29 laps
Lead changes: 7 among 4 drivers
Hinchcliffe 1 - 118
Wilson 119 - 120
Hinchcliffe 121 - 159
Hinchcliffe 161 - 195
Carpenter 196 - 213
Wilson 214 - 16
Hinchcliffe 217 - 250
Point Standings: Castroneves 332, Hunter-Reay 323, Andretti 277, Hinchcliffe 266, Kanaan 253. Pagenaud 241, Dixon 240, Sato 233, Wilson 227, Power 209
Starting lineup, finishing stats and lap chart couresty of IndyCar PR. That’s it. My thoughts on the weekend soon. Thanks again to everyone who showed up at the race and followed my tweets and posts from Iowa Speedway.
Next race: Pocono, July 7, noon Eastern on ABC