Iowa Preview

There is a new twist for the fifth edition of the Iowa Corn 250 – they are going to run it under the lights. I’ve always liked the short track in Newton, IA even though I’ve never been there. In fact, at one time or another, I’ve managed to find myself in forty-seven of the forty-eight contiguous states. What’s the one I’m missing? Iowa. Perhaps Pressdog will extend an invitation to his home state and I can attend this race one of these years. In the meantime, I’ll watch it on television.

Speaking of television, it is my understanding that Dan Wheldon will be back in the booth for Versus this Saturday night. I found his commentary from the booth for the Texas race to be very entertaining and enlightening. Versus will be busy on Saturday. They will provide live coverage of the Firestone Indy Lights race, then have a segment of many interviews and time-killing, before the green flag falls for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at 8:00 Central time.

As I mentioned, I like this track. With Richmond gone – at 7/8’s of a mile, it is now the shortest oval on the schedule. Unlike last week’s race at The Milwaukee Mile, this track is not flat. Also unlike last week’s race, I actually expect there to be some people in the stands on Saturday night.

The four previous races have all been pretty well attended, if memory serves me correctly. I wouldn’t think the move to Saturday night would have a negative effect on the crowd, but you never know. The weather hasn’t been particularly balmy in Iowa this week. Last night’s low was to be 55-degrees, which is a far cry from what the drivers, teams and fans faced at the last night race a couple of weeks ago in Texas. Saturday’s forecast calls for scattered thundershowers and a high of only seventy-six. Maybe count on a green-flag temperature of around 70-degrees, which would be about perfect, if the rain will hold off.

Unlike Milwaukee or Indianapolis, there is not a lot of history at this track, although open-wheel racing has a rich history in the state of Iowa dating back to 1915. This track, however, opened in 2006 and IndyCars first raced there in 2007. Dario Franchitti won the first and third races at Iowa Speedway, in 2007 and 2009 respectively. The first time, he was driving for Andretti-Green in the first of his three championship seasons. The second time found Franchitti driving for his current team – Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dan Wheldon won the second race in 2008, while driving for Ganassi. Tony Kanaan won last year’s edition in what ended up being his final year at Andretti Autosport and also his last victory.

Before last year’s victory, Tony Kanaan had very poor luck at Iowa Speedway. His best finish before his 2010 win was a fourteenth place finish in 2009. The three races prior to 2010 saw Kanaan crash out of each one.

Tony Kanaan had a fast car all weekend at Milwaukee. He had put himself in position to win, but a rare careless mistake took himself out of the race while leading late in the race. He is hungry for that first victory for his new team – KV Racing Technology – Lotus.

Common sense would dictate that Dario Franchitti will win the race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night. He is tied for the points lead, is probably driving better than at any point in his career, he has won half of the races run at the track and so has his team. Team Penske has not been very Penske-like lately. Kanaan is driving for a team that has not won a race in IZOD IndyCar Series competition, and his team from last year can’t get out of their own way. Dario Franchitti winning this race for Target Chip Ganassi Racing seems to be the most obvious choice. That is why I’m picking Tony Kanaan to win this race for the second year in a row.

Based on my recent track record, I should pick Franchitti to win. That will make it certain that he won’t. But if you’ll recall, I correctly picked Kanaan to win the race at Iowa last year. I just have a feeling, he is going to finally get that first win for his new team. We’ll see if I’m right, tomorrow night.

Enjoy the race!

George Phillips


12 Responses to “Iowa Preview”

  1. The Lapper Says:

    Ganassi is on a roll and I say stay with the hot hand. Dario. By the way, I like this track and I wouldlike to go sometime. It looks like a fun race to see from the stands.

  2. George just won’t pick Ganassi. He lives Penske so much he can’t get himself to do it. Hey, I would never pick Muchigan to win the BigTen. Graham is close,but I’ll take Dario and Dixon 1-2.

  3. billytheskink Says:

    Rooting for Graham, betting on Dixon. I did the same in Milwaukee and it didn’t quite work out for me, so…

  4. Jim in Wilmington Says:

    Will Power

  5. Savage Henry Says:

    It makes me sick to say this, but Dario is going to win, either with or without the help of Brian Barnhardt.

  6. “Perhaps Pressdog will extend an invitation to his home state and I can attend this race one of these years.”

    No need to wait for Pressdog. Given that I might be able to hit a golf ball from my house into Iowa with a strong enough tailwind, I’m inviting you for 2012 right now. Of course, that means diddly squat, given that I’m a solid 2 1/2 hour drive from Newton, so you’ll still be on your own to find your own pork chops for most of the weekend, but there you go. You’re invited.

  7. I want to see Oriol win — or Justin, Tony, Ryan H-R, Ryan B…

  8. Ryan Johnson Says:

    If you go to you can check out how many tickets are remaining in each section and how many are remaining altogether. Last time I checked there were just under 500 tickets available in a venue that holds 30,000! Not too bad, eh? I expect a great race with KV getting their first IICS win! I’m taking TK, but I believe TKS will also grab a podium spot too….

  9. Hey, it was nice to see a few more fans than usual in the stands for qualification. I also like KV, Danica and Hinch doing well. Keep an eye on Hinchcliff because I think he is on his way to being a star in INDYCAR. He’s good.

  10. Leigh O'Gorman Says:

    I do believe that the Iowa race is now a sell out. Excellent stuff. Sato on pole with Danica alongside. Power and Dario on row three, with Dixon in P23. Looking forward to this.

  11. Leigh O'Gorman Says:

    Although just one thing. As much as we all do still knock him from time to time, I would just like to add further kudos to Sato.
    There are a few drivers out there that would love four top tens and a pole at this stage of the season. If he can keep his head and not wall it, he could have another good result here.

  12. There’s nothing better to jinx a win than predicting it will really do. I hope it doesn’t apply on wishing Franchitti his first title. Good post, either way.

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