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DATE News (chronologically)
06/19/10
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Iowa Corn 250 Saturday Notebook
This is the fourth IZOD IndyCar Series event at Iowa Speedway. Dario Franchitti won the race in 2009. Scott Dixon holds the single-lap qualifying record with a lap of 17.6486 seconds, 182.360 mph set in June 2007. Past winners Dario Franchitti  (2007 and 2009), and Dan Wheldon are entered in the event.

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Medical update from Dr. Geoffrey Billows, IRL medical official: Hideki Mutoh and Alex Lloyd are cleared to compete this weekend. Mutoh crashed at a test at Iowa Speedway on June 9, Lloyd had an emergency appendectomy on June 11.

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Iowa National Guard Sgt. Andrew Barden was named Panther Racing's Hometown Hero for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.

Panther honors a member of each respective state's National Guard at every domestic IZOD IndyCar Series event, and makes each soldier their own "Hero Card," which they use while participating in the driver autograph session during the race weekend.

In addition to joining Dan Wheldon at the autograph session, each Hometown Hero also receives an Indy Racing Experience two-seater ride, is honored in a private ceremony with Panther and National Guard VIPs before the race and is recognized during driver introductions.

Sgt. Barden has earned the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

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The right-side Firehawk tires developed by Firestone Racing engineers are a 2010 superspeedway tire specification from Texas and Kansas. The left-side tire is an all-new compound, but similar to the 2010 Indianapolis left-side tire spec. The combination of tires affords excellent durability from the right-side tires while using the left-side tires to enhance grip.

"Iowa Speedway presents Firestone Racing with a very unique challenge," Firestone Racing executive director Al Speyer said. "Although it is technically a short oval, the high speeds and loads it produces require the durability of a superspeedway specification tire."

Longevity: The Iowa Corn Indy 250 marks the 452nd open-wheel racing event for Newman/Haas Racing, which will have entered a total of 800 cars.

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Team owner/driver Sarah Fisher will be making her 80th IZOD IndyCar Series start. … Danica Patrick has been running at the finish in the past 23 races. Series points leader Dario Franchitti has been running at the finish in the past 21 races. The series record is 28 by Scott Dixon. … Dixon will seek to extend his series top-10 qualifying record to 40. … Team Penske drivers have earned a series-record six PEAK Performance Pole Awards. The past two qualifying sessions at Iowa Speedway were canceled because of rain and weepers and the grid was set by entrant points.

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In two IZOD IndyCar Series starts at Iowa Speedway, Hideki Mutoh has finished second (2008) and third (2009). In addition, he competed in Firestone Indy Lights in 2007 and finished third.

"I really don't know what it is about Iowa Speedway that brings good results for me but I like it," said Mutoh, who will drive the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic car for Newman/Haas Racing. "It's a high-banked short oval where you are always turning left; you don't have time to rest. It's a very physical track and you have to constantly be focused. All of those things seem to suit me."

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Father's Day is June 20 and A.J. Foyt Racing driver Vitor Meira weighs in on his father's influence in his life.

"Most of my memories around my dad involve racing. When I was little I wanted an electric mini-car and my dad gave me a choice between that and a go-kart. I knew nothing about go-karts so he took me to a track to see them. He said I could run the mini-car at home anytime I wanted but the go-kart I could only run at the race track. I chose the go-kart. It was faster and louder and I could race against other kids. It looked like a lot more fun. Looking back now, I think it was really perceptive on his part."

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Governor to say a few words: Iowa Gov. Chet Culver will address spectators as part of the pre-race program. Tim Burrack, chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, is the grand marshal. Don Elsbernd, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, is the honorary starter.

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Andretti Autosport driver Danica Patrick will be presented $10,000 for being voted the Firestone Tire-ific Award winner for her runner-up finish in the Firestone 550K at Texas Motor Speedway on June 5.

After every IZOD IndyCar Series race, Firestone Racing nominates three drivers who best utilized their Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event. Fans vote for the driver who they believe made the most Tire-ific move of the race at www.indycar.com.

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Dale Coyne Racing's Milka Duno spoke to students at the Viking Theatre on the Grand View University campus in Des Moines on June 18. The Iowa Department of Human Rights presented the event in conjunction with Duno's "Milka Way" program that stresses the importance of education to students of all ages.

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Helio Castroneves' book, "Victory Road: The Ride of My Life," is on sale at bookstores and online at www.amazon.com. The book chronicles Castroneves' emotional life on and off the racetrack and it serves as an inspirational story about meeting life's challenges.

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Team Penske crew member Jaime Coats is not at Iowa Speedway this weekend as he and his wife are expecting their first child. Veteran mechanic Rick Rinaman is filling in for Coats this weekend as the inside rear tire changer on Ryan Briscoe's No. 6 car.

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