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I’m not much of a circle track guy but the Iowa Speedway set up is a good one. Short track with fast cars can create a great race. I rolled passed Newton Friday pm from Iowa City and settled at an old buddie’s house in Altoona for the weekend of racing. Sat am I was in the truck, hit the Caribou down the road and back on the interstate to the track. Sun in the forecast all weekend with a chance of thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon around race time. Hot Hot Hot, around 89 with no breeze and humidity. One thing Iowa Speedway does right is all the shuttle guys and gals driving around to get you were you need to go.
I mentioned to one guy that Iowa Speedway is nothing compared to Road America or Road Atlanta with walking distance. I settled in to the Media Center before I started to comb the pits and paddock area. The Indy Lights and USF2000 were getting ready for another practice and qualifying. I always walk by those drivers and just wonder who is going to be the next….insert your favorite driver here. Nothing to flashy for the lights or the 2000 on the track. I did overhear one 2000 driver mentioned that after his 1st lap of qualifying he was able to go flat to the floor for his 2nd lap. Sounds like they had the car set up right for him. I was also able to track down the big dog Kevin Hinkle. Need to thank Rod Giebel for giving me the heads up on him. Kevin was actually running in the ARCA series race that night, Kevin admitted it was a mid pack car but he has a blast!! For those that don’t know, I have raced against Kevin and Rod in Chumpcar and World Racing League series. Back to INDY CAR… I noticed lots of rear wing adjustments on the cars being done, both front and rear even as the race was going on. Also the different types of front wings/nose on the car depending on drivers. Only hit in practice was JR Hildebrand to the rear of the car and then he ends up p2 for the race on Sunday.
Q/ How are you guys going to keep Scott Dixon at bay because he is so hot right now….
A/ Josef Newgarden…we need to put his fire out…too soon?? LOL.
One thing you will notice in my pictures that it is a lot of the crew and them working on the car or other things you may not see with other media. It truly is a traveling circus when it comes to Indy Car or IMSA and NASCAR. Or any other sanctioned body for racing. Only crew I seen do any major work on pit road was Rahal Letterman with a different diff and that doesn’t take those guys long at all.
Speeds, the teams were hitting the low to mid 180 range. On this short track it creates lots of passing, most lap times around the upper teens. The biggest laugh of the weekend is when Indy Lights driver Santi Urrutia thought he won the race and did a donut at the finish line then when he walked into the winners circle the #26 of Matheus Leist was already in place. Santi was crushed to say the least and he added a few “what the fudge” the whole time. He admitted the situation in the press conference and he had a good laugh about it with everyone else. Communication people!!
In the end it was the old man on Sunday… Spider Man as they call him because he likes climbing fences after a win. Helio Castroneves takes the checker and it was forever and a day for the winners circle to get over with him because of reporters…so I bailed. Inside the media center for Jr Hitchcliffe (P2) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (P3) giving their thoughts on the race. In the end the Indy Communications Specialists at the mic mentioned to everyone,” Team Penske has asked that no one ask Helio the plans for him next year”. OK, well 2 days later speculation he will be running IMSA in a Acura….we will see!!
Disclaimer: No notes or recordings are used on location for interviews.
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