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Iowa’s known for corn, hogs, related edibles and frankly little else. It’s the home of has been IndyCar blogger Bill Zahren, aka “PressdogTM,” as well as the Iowa Caucuses whatever those are. Apparently it’s some sort of beauty pageant for the rather homely political class, proving the old dictum that politics is celebrity for ugly people. Iowa sounds like it’s got a lot going for it, doesn’t it? We kid, we kid. Seriously, Saturday night should prove to be a tasty treat for fans of artistry on wheels.
Photo from iowaspeedway.com
The best part of the entire god-forsaken state is Iowa Speedway, a 7/8s mile oval located east of Des Moines in the tiny town of Newton. Thank you, Rusty Wallace. Apparently it’s the one track in the country that can handle both an IndyCar race AND a certain other series race within a few weeks of each other. Now THAT’s tasty. It must be all that gooey corn pollen that makes this possible in the Hawkeye state. Or perhaps it’s the intense, wafting smell of hog shit (aka “money”) that has such a wonderfully efficient effect on the locals. They even have a “bar tent” at the Speedway and actually give away sweet corn during the festivities. Beer and corn – it’s not exactly wine and cheese – but what a culinary combo!
Photo from indianapolismonthly.com
The hors d’ oeuvres sized “speedway” opened back in 2006 and hosted its first IndyCar race the next year. Retired Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti – hailing from Scotland he’s used to horrible food – narrowly edged Marco Andretti to win the inaugural Iowa Corn 250. The race has been expanded to 300 laps the last couple of years and we’re thankful for the extra helping of fifty, gladly taking all the mouth watering oval track racing we can get. After all, egg shaped tracks are the meat and potatoes of IndyCar.
Photo from desmoinesregister.com
Dario went on to win Iowa again in 2009, while American Ryan Hunter-Reay (remember him?) joined him as a two time winner taking the checkers in 2012 and again last year. Other former winners include the late Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, laid-up Canuck funnyman James Hinchcliffe and the mercurial Marco Andretti who took his second – and last – career win at Iowa back in 2011. Which leads us to wonder Marco, where have you gone?
Photo from usatoday.com
Interestingly American young guns Josef Newgarden and Sage Karam both have won there too, though in Indy Lights. Newgarden won in 2011 while Karam prevailed in 2013. The Lights didn’t bother going to Iowa last year, though happily they’re back this year providing a lip smacking appetizer before the main course. Graham Rahal‘s been performing deliciously all season with that slick Steak ‘N Shake livery and has been consistently hungry since last year. We wonder how often he eats out. Mm – mmm good!
Photo from foxsports.com
It’ll be another jam-packed weekend schedule like Milwaukee with qualifications and the race both taking place on Saturday. While certain members of the press complained about the pole sitter not getting his due at Milwaukee – which really means the reporters feel they’re not getting their due – we at IRR enjoy the compact action in addition to the challenges it presents the teams. Less time between qualifications and race benefits the smaller, less wealthy among them and often can provide surprising results. It also gives paying fans a well deserved all-day feast of racing. Think about it – who really wants to make two trips in one weekend to Newton?
Photo from indycar.com
We’re looking forward to the dizzying, side by side oval racing the track offers like a starving man looks forward to a meal. Due to the exceptional IndyCar action it routinely serves up, Iowa’s one of our favorite delicacies on the schedule. With pork chops galore and constant passing, the Iowa Corn 300 promises to be a yummy experience. Burp.
Television coverage and times –
Qualifications: Saturday, 5:30 PM CT NBCSN
Race: 7:00 PM CT, NBCSN