Iowa Predictions And Prognostications: Predictable Edition

We hate to admit it about one of our favorite tracks, but Iowa’s grown predictable in IndyCar’s ass pods era. The racing’s still as exciting as all get out, but one team’s dull dominance is indisputable.

Jul 18, 2015; Newton, IA, USA; IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) reacts after winning the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-230374 ORIG FILE ID:  20150718_lbm_ad1_319.JPG

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Iowa Speedway turning ten this year is surreal, as it seems like only yesterday the shiny, new oval was fortuitously added to the schedule. Its awe inspiring oval track racing is spectacular to behold. Thank you, Tony George. With absolutely no transition needed, predicting controversy at an IndyCar race in summertime is like shooting fish in a barrel. Our special prediction for the race is tempers flaring and gestures flying. Anyone can see it coming 7/8s of a mile away.

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Photo from usatoday.com

It was only a year ago when George’s step son, Ed “never finishes” Carpenter, showily stomped into Sage Karam‘s pit after taking exception to his driving – and to being out driven. Fingers waved and tongues wagged, but no punches were thrown – it’s IndyCar not NASCAR, after all. Now that the corn’s ten feet tall, we’re betting there’ll be more such outbursts in Iowa. The tight, fast and confined oval often tends to bring out the fighting – or at least complaining – spirit.

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Photo from foxsports.com

Speaking of complaints, here’s a quote from our predicted pole sitter, uttered after last year’s 500. “I had a lot of issues with the 83. Pass the baton for biggest blocker – chopping block butcher.” Tax code challenged but Borg Warner blessed Helio Castro Neves made those remarks about Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball. More on CK later. HCN will harness that hate in qualifications and start first – again.

Helio

Photo from usatoday.com

The three time Indy 500 winner’s won two of last three poles at Iowa and started third in 2014 behind new teammates Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. Predictably – and like his fellow over the hill Brazilian buddy – the veteran Penske pilot isn’t winning many races at this point in his career. However, poles are still his forte – reliably and predictably so. In nine tries Helio’s still never won in the Hawkeye state. We’re predicting that streak will continue, too.

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Photo from raceweekillustrated.com

First out of the race is another obvious choice in Takuma Sato. He was first out in 2014 and second out the previous year. Unfortunately for AJ, that trend’s not changing anytime soon. How he’s still employed in the series is beyond us at IRR – to the point where we’ve grown tired of predicting his firing.

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In the way out there pick of the race, it’s possible for f-ing F1 invader Alexander “de Large” Rossi to accomplish the hugest/tiniest double and win Iowa after the rookie literally coasted to victory at Indianapolis. His team is outstanding at the track and the kid’s certainly lucky. Ryan Hunter-Reay did the hugest/tiniest double in 2014 as did Dario in 2007, during Iowa Speedway’s first year in business.

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On the other side of the Ganassi coin, Scott “Gump” Dixon’s enjoyed little success in his nine starts with a best finish of third in 2011. In fact among all active drivers – we’re using the phrase liberally with the first two – only TK, Marco, Hinch and RHR have won Iowa. That’s a really short group.

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Photo from usatoday.com

Unexpectedly, our prediction for biggest surprise of the race is Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball. His drive to the front will ruffle plenty of feathers in the steamy fields of Iowa, particularly coming off Road America where “what’s wrong with” Juan just skewered him post race. Charlie’s been on a tear toward the podium lately, aggressively driving with Diabetes and, evidently, anger. His best performance at Iowa was tenth a couple years ago, while he finished twenty second last season. See what we mean about surprising?

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Photo from indystar.com

Predictably, the winner will be Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport. Until somebody beats ’em, they’re manifestly the best team at Iowa. They positively own the joint, particularly as of late. Here’s hoping for more edge of your seat racing and a less predictable winner on Sunday.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Post script: Noticeably absent from our predictions – and with good reason – Graham Rahal announced he’s whipping out some special Buckeye racing shoes for Mid-Ohio. Talk about an inane sentence. Although the lethally boring M-OH is Graham’s home track, apparently he’s overlooking Iowa altogether. Winless in 2016, we asked him what he had in mind fashion-wise for this weekend. Perhaps some RHR yellow? Predictably, Rahal didn’t respond.

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Photo from examiner.com

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One thought on “Iowa Predictions And Prognostications: Predictable Edition

  1. Pingback: IndyCar News Week in Review: Cubs Win! Edition | Indy Race Reviewer: Fast And Funniness

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