Photo from iowaspeedway.com
Among the dwindling oval tracks remaining on the schedule, Iowa Speedway routinely puts on some of the most riveting racing of the entire year. You could say it’s the nearest thing to IndyCar bliss outside Circle City and Texas.
The Iowa Corn 300 has witnessed some unforgettable moments in a decade of IndyCar racing. Ed Carpenter and Sage Karam’s confrontations in 2015 – both on track and post race – top our list. We termed the race at the time “Sage Gone Wild,” seemingly a breakout moment for the young Pennsylvanian. Perhaps it was his angelic features that drew us in, if not his devilish driving.
Photo from sports.usatoday.com
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Now Sage is relegated to one off status at Indy, and unfortunately won’t be racing at Iowa after finishing 28th in the 500 this year. At least the other half of the duelin’ duo, owner/driver Carpenter, will be driving (as if that’s any consolation). We do have an idea for a new arch enemy for Ed to do battle with, however.
Photo from twitter.com
Speaking of which, could Iowa turn into another TK induced crash fest like Texas? Tempers still smolder in the wake of Wisconsin, where Tony “time to call it quits” Kanaan characteristically blamed Alex Rossi for his most recent crash. Merely the latest round of recriminations between the two since TMS, the dustup may perhaps even turn into a budding rivalry. We’re definitely siding with Alex again on this one. In fact, we were siding with the young 500 winner even before he was.
Josef “Golden Boy” Newgarden triumphed at Iowa last year in a real feel good story, doing so with a broken hand and clavicle suffered at Texas, Part 1. Newkid overcame the doubters and naysayers in a major way with his third and final win for ECR.
Ryan Hunter-Reay with the hyphen here-to-stay dominated previously, winning three races at what we’ve deemed Andretti Autosport’s stompin’ grounds. Even token Canuck James Hinchcliffe won for AA when he was with ’em in 2013 – back when the dancin’ fool was on top of the world.
Keep an eye on one of our faves Ed Jones, who’s taken to the fast cars during his rookie season like a Gulf Sheik to Gucci. Charlie “Pinball” Kimball has performed admirably of late for Ganassi, as has Scott “do no wrong” Dixon. Some say it approaches paradise watching Carlos “OK” Munoz drive an oval. As for his AJ Foyt Racing teammate? Not so much.
Iowa’s annual hosting of IndyCar represents idyllic oval racing in microcosm, a near nirvana like experience despite AA’s frequent winning ways. It should remain a fixture on the schedule, for it’s an indispensable race course that puts on one helluva show.
Photo from foxsports.com
Sunday’s appointment viewing at the 7/8s mile slice of IndyCar heaven amidst the cornfields of Iowa. It’s only a shame there aren’t more ovals like it in this less than perfect world.