Miller says short ovals are IRL's future Robbin Miller's latest:
There’s always a lot of grumbling in the IndyCar paddock about coming to corn country: it’s in middle of nowhere, no fancy restaurants and no 4-star hotels are among the annual complaints.
But there are two reasons that Iowa Speedway should always be a fixture on the schedule.
It’s real racy and it draws real fans.
Sunday’s Iowa Corn 250 was not only the best race of 2010, it was one of the most combative and competitive shows in recent history as almost 35,000 people were treated to a pass happy 250 laps and one helluva drive by Tony Kanaan.
Kanaan DROVE from 15th to victory lane without any pit strategy, debris yellows or help from the elements. He stormed to the front with outside and inside passes on a 1-mile oval that rewards aggression, chassis setup and handling traffic.
“This is what fans want to see, hard racing and lots of passing,” said Kanaan, who broke a two-year victory drought and snapped a 16-race oval win streak by Penske and Ganassi.
“I’m not saying this just because I won but not only do we need to keep Iowa on the schedule, we need more tracks like this.”
Of the 17 lead changes, all but one came on the track -- at speed. Teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon battled each other for first place like their jobs were on the line while Kanaan and Franchitti went side-by-side and swapped the top spot five times in 25 laps.
E.J. Viso started 19th and DROVE to a career-best third place to salvage the afternoon for KV Racing.
“This is a crazy place,” he exclaimed afterwards. “You have to deal with the traffic, save your tires, play with your bars and really concentrate. But I could pass people high and low and we just kept getting quicker and quicker.
“I wish we had more places like this because if you get your car working, it doesn’t matter where you start.”
While the 1.5-mile cookie cutters on the IZOD IndyCar series circuit are usually an exercise in aerodynamics, the lone short track left on the schedule is more about driving and dealing with the bump in Turn 1 and all the traffic.
“I didn’t have a very good car until the end but this place is so much fun,” declared Ryan Briscoe, who wound up fourth for Team Penske. “You have to keep making changes and working with the car and I was hanging on for the first half of the race.
“That’s why it was a very satisfying fourth place, if there can be such a thing.”