Racing fans have an unique opportunity this weekend at Iowa Speedway. The pairing of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and the Verizon IndyCar Series brings two contrasting styles of racing on the Newton track on back-to-back nights.
The sixth annual American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen brings the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to the Speedway track Friday. Saturday the IndyCar Series drivers take to the 7⁄8-mile oval in the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB.
Both races run under the lights. The green flag will fly at 7:30 p.m. for the American Ethanol 200 Friday and the Iowa Corn Indy 300’s green flag flies at 7:45 p.m. Saturday.
Practice laps for the NCWTS race and the IndyCar race are Friday. Sukup Pole Day is Friday when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Verizon IndyCar Series drivers qualify for each of their respective races. Sukup Manufacturing Company is the Iowa Speedway official pole-day sponsor this weekend.
IndyCar presented the first major series race at Iowa Speedway in 2007. Since that time, the race brings the premier open-wheel racing stars to Iowa. Last year’s IndyCar Series race winner in Iowa was James Hinchcliffe.
Iowa Speedway is the shortest track on the IndyCar schedule, being .875 miles long.
In 2013, James Hinchcliffe passed Will Power on the first lap for the lead, and proceeded to dominate the race, leading all but 24 laps, a track-record 226 laps. He had led only 33 laps on ovals prior to the race.
Hinchcliffe’s teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay fell behind with early right front car damage early in the race and was in 21st but was able to reach second although slowed by lapped cars. Hinchcliffe beat Hunter-Reay to the finish by 1.509 seconds, giving Andretti Autosport its second consecutive 1-2 finish at the track.
Andretti Autosport drivers have won five of the seven races at Iowa.
Coming into Saturday’s Iowa Corn Indy 300, it is Team Penske with the hottest drivers. Power and Helio Castroneves are tied atop the Verizone IndyCar Series point standings with 446 points. Then factor in Juan Pablo Montoya, who raced in the first race at Iowa Speedway — an ARCA race in 2006. Montoya is fourth in points at 391.
Hunter-Reay, who won the Iowa Corn Indy race in 2012, sits at No. 5 in the points race. He is the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. Last year’s winner at Iowa, Hinchcliffe is 12th in points while Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti, who won the Iowa race in 2011, is sitting seventh in points.
This is the first year for the IndyCar drivers to run 300 laps at Iowa Speedway.
“After last year’s IndyCar Series race, many of our loyal fans immediately took to their social media channels, sent emails, or called us to let us know they wanted more,” said Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small. “The fans asked for it, and alongside our best-in-class partners at Iowa Corn, we delivered 50 more intense laps under the lights at the Iowa Speedway.”
Watch for 2013 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon to make strong statement during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB. A year ago, Castroneves set a track record in qualifying with a blistering lap of 185.687 and providing Iowa Speedway the moniker “The Fastest Short Track On The Planet.” But, no driver has won at Iowa from the pole.
Before the IndyCars are featured at Iowa Speedway Saturday, the NASCAR truck series drivers bring their brand of racing to the track. In the six years of the NCWTS American Ethanol 200, only one driver has won twice.
Timothy Peters returns to defend his back-to-back wins in the American Ethanol 200. That was his first win of the 2013 NCWTS season, and it came in a track-record setting time. The 2013 race was the fastest truck race at Iowa Speedway in 1 hour, 38 minutes, 46 seconds with an average speed of 106.311 mph.
Peters is one of three past winners expected to run in Friday’s race at the Speedway. The other two are Ryan Blaney, who won the fall truck race at Iowa in 2012, and Matt Crafton, who won in 2011.
Crafton is looming just eight points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point standings. Sauter is looking for his first win at Iowa after six top-five finishes at the Speedway. He is atop the point standings with 297 and Crafton is at 289. Peters, who drives for Red Horse Racing, is third and Blaney, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing, is fourth.
Red Horse’s German Quiroga, the first Mexican to earn a NASCAR pole position in any series with the fastest pre-race lap time, led the first 56 laps last year’s race. Also watch for Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Erik Jones, who finished second in 2013, and Darrell Wallace Jr. to make a challenge to win at Iowa Speedway.
Both the NASCAR trucks and the Indy cars will run on ethanol in this weekend’s races.
Sports editor Jocelyn Sheets may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 432, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.