Mid Season Thoughts and Iowa Prelude

It’s the time of year when the championship becomes more muddled after seeming very clear.  I’m not a fan of the current points system, but it does create an interesting title fight every year.  Iowa is where Juan Pablo Montoya began to lose his grip on the crown last year. He finished last at Iowa due to a first lap crash. Scott Dixon, his closest pursuer, had mechanical issues, but got his car back on track to earn a couple extra points. Those points proved crucial at Sonoma as Dixon took the title from Montoya. Right now, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, and Will Power are the top three in  points with Dixon a close fourth. I would not count Dixon out, even though he has had a lot of bad luck this year. Iowa seems to be the track where a Penske driver’s title hopes go to die.

Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, and Tony Kanaan are having really great seasons. Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato, and Jack Hawksworth are not. I wonder which of these drivers will return to their respective teams next year.  Graham Rahal appears to be in the midst of a disappointing season, but Iowa is where he really began his surge last year. His podium at Road America could be the beginning of a charge.

This will be my third trip to Iowa. I really like this track. It is 7/8 of a mile long and one constant turn. Indycars lap at about 17 seconds. My first race  was in 2012.  The cars under the lights were incredible.  I’m very disappointed that this year’s race is a daytime event. Another thing I liked at the 2012 race was the USAC midget program on Friday night. What a great show!  Midgets going 160 miles per hour is an amazing sight.  I wish they could pair with Indycar again here.

The Iowa Corn 300 could be named the Andretti Invitational. Andretti drivers have won six times here, including Ryan Hunter-Reay’s victory last year. It was Hunter-Reay’s third win at Iowa.  I expect a different Andretti driver to win this year.

Last year I was fortunate to get a 2-seater ride here. Turns 1 and 2 are teeth rattling bumpy.  The car is in a constant turn. I felt my head was constantly leaning out the right side of the car. This ride felt faster than my ride at IMS because of the short track and the perpetual turning motion. Imagine doing this 300 times 60 miles an hour faster than we were traveling.

Saturday evening I plan to go to Knoxville Raceway. I have not been to a dirt track in a very long time, and I am very much looking forward to it. Someday I hope to make it to the Knoxville Nationals, another bucket list event.

Which Andretii driver will win this year’s Iowa corn 300?  I’m picking Carlos Munoz. I hope to do a brief report from the track this weekend, and I will have a weekend review next week.

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