Afternoon Report from Iowa (Update)UPDATE Quite a few drivers were visibly upset after their qualifying runs. Dario Franchitti, for one, headed to back to his garage without speaking to the assembled media on pit road. Simona de Silvestro, usually very upbeat no matter the circumstances, looked quite frustrated.
Graham Rahal was understandably not a barrel full of sunshine and daisies himself, but did speak for a few minutes with the media.
Young Rahal noted the team made pretty aggressive changes to the car, and that they had been too conservative previously. Keep in mind, while Rahal has struggled this year, the struggle has been particularly rough on ovals, where he has qualified 25th, 19th and 23rd in the first three races.
Another driver who did not have a particularly good qualifying session was Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR had a bobble in Turn 1 and was forced to lift, losing a lot of his momentum. And with the one lap format around here, his run was basically ruined.
However, the uncharacteristic run means RHR goes off as the 8th place starter in Heat Race 1. And if anyone can make a charge to the front, you've got to think it's Hunter-Reay.
Of course, it will be fun to watch Hunter-Reay this evening for those who can watch Hunter-Reay this evening. The heat races are not being televised, only streamed on IndyCar.com.
Brian C. reporting from Iowa
06/22/13 It's about 2:15 p.m. CT here in Iowa. We're in the middle of a two hour break in the day, with nothing on track other than the IndyCar two-seater. Indy Lights is the only support series this weekend, so there is not as much on track action as normal. IndyCar qualifying begins in about 45 minutes. In the meantime everyone, media included, is simply trying to keep cool. Temperatures are in the low 90s, and it is very humid. Also, walking through the paddock it seems the 5 straight race weekends have really begun to catch up with everyone.
During this morning's practice session, I watched the Indy cars from a few different spots. I spent probably half the session on the inside of turn 1, and was noticing drastically different lines from a number of drivers.
Some such as Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe and Will Power seemed to be trying both high and low grooves to see where their cars worked best. Others like Alex Tagliani and Scott Dixon ran the high line primarily. Marco Andretti and Josef Newgarden seemed to really have their cars working on the low line.
In other news, J.R. Hildebrand is here making the rounds. Maybe, we'll see the young Californian back in an Indy car soon.
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