“Prix-Viewing” the Iowa Corn Indy 300

Photo Credit: FOX Sports

The 10th race out of 16 scheduled races of the 2016 Verizon Indycar Series campaign takes us to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on Sunday, July 10th. The indycars will race 300 laps around the 4-turn 0.875-mile D-shaped oval.

Simon Pagenaud leads the Indycar points championship after finishing in 2nd place in both the 1st and 2nd races of this season in St. Petersburg and Phoenix as well as at Belle Isle, and winning in Long Beach, Alabama, and Indianapolis (Grand Prix). Other race winners from earlier this season are Will Power, who won at the 2nd Detroit race and at Road America, Scott Dixon, who won at Phoenix,  Juan Pablo Montoya, who won at St. Petersburg, Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500, and Sebastien Bourdais, who won at the 1st Detroit race. Those drivers sit 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th and 14th in the championship standings, respectively.

Former winners of the Iowa race in this year’s field are Tony Kanaan, who won the race in 2010, Marco Andretti, who won the race in 2011, James Hinchcliffe, who won the race in 2013, and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the race in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Also of note is the Chevrolet vs. Honda battle. Drivers of the Honda-powered cars have seemed to race slightly better than they’ve qualified so far this year, but have only won 1 of the 9 races thus far this season, that being Alexander Rossi at the Indianapolis 500. This win showed, however, that they are indeed very strong and can be competitive, and it gives them a lot of momentum moving forward. James Hinchcliffe, driving a Honda-powered car, started from pole in the Indianapolis 500. It was Honda’s 1st pole since 2014 in race 1 of the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. Drivers of Chevrolet-powered cars had taken 30 consecutive pole positions since then. The drivers of the Honda-powered cars were also very strong at Texas Motor Speedway, running 1st, 2nd, and 3rd when the race was suspended at 71 out of 248 laps.

Honda appeared to be closing the performance gap to Chevy over the final stages of the 2015 season, but Chevy has come out and dominated to start off this season, winning 8 of the first 9 races. However, Honda seemed to make some strides at Alabama, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis 500, getting Graham Rahal to 2nd place at Alabama, placing 8 of the top 13 cars at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and sweeping the top 2 positions at the Indianapolis 500. They also placed 4 cars in the top 7 and 7 in the top 12 in Race #1 of the Dual in Detroit, and ran well at Texas before the race was suspended.

Coming into race weekend, the Andretti Autosport team has won the past 6 IndyCar events at Iowa, and has won 7 of the 9 IndyCar races there all-time. Driving in Honda-powered cars, the Andretti Autosport drivers, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, and Alexander Rossi, will look to add to what is becoming a dominant legacy at Iowa for the somewhat-struggling Andretti Autosport team.

 

Drivers to watch for (with engine manufacturers):

 

The obvious:

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda): Hunter-Reay has won at Iowa in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Tony Kanaan (Chevrolet): Kanaan won at Iowa in 2010.

Josef Newgarden (Chevrolet): Newgarden’s best finish at Iowa is 2nd, which he did in 2014 and 2015. He won the Indy Lights race at Iowa in 2011.

Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet): Castroneves’ best finish at Iowa is 2nd, which was in 2010.

Scott Dixon (Chevrolet): Dixon’s best finish at Iowa is 3rd, which was in 2011.

James Hinchcliffe (Honda): Hinchcliffe won at Iowa in 2013.

Marco Andretti (Honda): Andretti won at Iowa in 2011.

 

Less Obvious:

Will Power (Chevrolet): Power’s best finish at Iowa is 5th, which was in 2010.

Simon Pagenaud (Chevrolet): Pagenaud’s best finish at Iowa is 5th, which was in 2012.

Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet): Montoya’s best finish at Iowa is 16th, which was in 2014.

Graham Rahal (Honda): Rahal’s best finish at Iowa is 4th, which was in 2015.

Carlos Munoz (Honda): Munoz’s best finish at Iowa is 5th, which was in 2015.

Ed Carpenter (Chevrolet): Carpenter’s best finish at Iowa is 4th, which was in 2013.

 

Sleepers:

Takuma Sato (Honda): Sato’s best finish at Iowa is 12th, which was in 2012.

Charlie Kimball (Chevrolet): Kimball’s best finish at Iowa is 10th, which was in 2014.

Alexander Rossi (Honda): Rossi has never raced at Iowa.

Sebastien Bourdais (Chevrolet): Bourdais’ best finish at Iowa is 9th, which was in 2015.

 

Other notables:

Mikhail Aleshin (Honda): Aleshin’s best and only finish at Iowa is 21st, which was in 2014.

Gabby Chaves (Honda): Chaves’ best finish at Iowa is 16th, which was in 2015.

Conor Daly (Honda): Daly has never raced at Iowa.

Max Chilton (Chevrolet): Chilton has never raced at Iowa in an indycar, but won the 2015 Indy Lights race there.

Jack Hawksworth (Honda): Hawksworth’s best finish at Iowa is 13th, which was in 2015.

 

 

-Asher Fair