This weekend marks the 10th Indy car race at Iowa Speedway. Over the nine races that have been run thus far, Honda has been the victor for seven. It is only fair to note that the first five years of the race, Honda was the only engine manufacturer for IndyCar. Since Chevrolet returned to the series to reintroduce engine competition in 2012, the two manufacturer’s have split the wins, 2-2.
One domination that is a bit more defined is that of Andretti Autosport, with six sequential wins at Iowa Speedway from 2010 – 2015. Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and James Hinchcliffe are the winning drivers for Andretti over those years – Hunter-Reay three times over, with the “fastest feet in Iowa”. The only other team to find wins at the short oval is Chip Ganassi Racing, and they did so the first 3 years of competition: Dario Franchitti won it twice and the late Dan Wheldon won once.
While Andretti and Ganassi are the only two winning teams here, Team Penske, Ganassi and KV Tech-Lotus are the only ones to get pole positions. Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon each have 3 poles, while Power, Sato, and Franchitti each have 1.
The only IndyCar driver to hold a pole and garner a win at Iowa Speedway is Dario Franchitti, but they were done in separate years – he won the inaugural race in 2007 as well as 2009, and achieved pole in 2012. No driver has ever won from the pole in Iowa.
While the experience Honda has at this track clearly outnumbers Chevrolet in regards to year-count, it seems that Team Chevy is doing what they can to even out the playing field. The morning practice today created a blatant division in the field, with 9 Chevrolet-powered Dallaras in the Top 10 and 9 Hondas making up the rear of the field. There was a bit of mingling mid-pack but it was pretty minimal.
Andretti Autosport wants to continue their winning streak, but with Hunter-Reay getting loose in practice and backing it in to the wall in Turn 4, and Marco Andretti spinning the No. 27 on the frontstretch, this could provide an interesting twist in the weekend. The team obviously has an expectation of results given that Andretti & Hunter-Reay have won at Iowa before. Not to mention that the last oval race for the series was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Carlos Munoz and Alexander Rossi finished the Indy 500 this year as runner-up and champion, respectively.
They will certainly not go uncontested though. Tony Kanaan led the morning practice session today, running a fast lap of 00:17.2197. For you history buffs and statisticians out there, that’s quicker than the qualifying lap record set by Helio Castroneves in 2014, of 00:17.2283. Since this was a practice time, it does not count as an official track record, but it does give us insight about what we might expect to see this afternoon in qualifying.
Kanaan has stood on the podium at Iowa Speedway for 5 of the 9 races IndyCar has run, one of which was a win in 2010 – so keep your eye on the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet this afternoon and tomorrow. Could Kanaan be the first IndyCar driver to lead the field to the green and the checkered, securing Chip Ganassi Racing their first win here? It’s very possible, and the accomplishment would taste as sweet as… well… as sweet as corn, of course! I mean, we ARE in Iowa, after all.
Verizon IndyCar Series track times for the Iowa Corn 300:
Saturday, July 9:
Practice #1 – 10:00 a.m. CT/11:00 a.m. ET
Quals – 2:00 p.m. CT/3:00 p.m. ET
Practice #2 – 6:15 p.m. CT/7:15 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 10:
Systems Check – 1:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. ET
Iowa Corn 300 Race – 4:00 p.m. CT/5:00 p.m. E.T.
The Kohler Grand Prix Qualifying and Race will be broadcast live on NBCSN. Both Practice sessions will be livestreamed via IndyCar. All links to livestream plus information on radio coverage is available here.