Currently, the Camping World Truck Series is on track qualifying for tonight's 6th Annual American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen. The Verizon IndyCar Series takes to the track at 6 p.m. for single car qualifying.
My expert reading on the weather says that it will likely remain very overcast. However, both the IndyCar Series and Truck Series should be able to get in their qualifying and race respectively.
As far as IndyCar qualifying goes, it's really anyone's guess as to who will win pole. We haven't been able to get an accurate read on who was focusing on race setup as opposed to qualifying. Another interesting item is that many of the drivers who were quick in practice, such as Will Power (first to qualify), James Hinchcliffe (2nd) and Tony Kanaan (4th) will go out early, when the track is theoretically not at its optimal.
Now, are there any fast guys who will go out late? Yes, Juan Pablo Montoya, who was the last driver to qualify at Pocono a week ago and won pole, will go out 15th. Ed Carpenter will go out 17th.
However, if you're looking for a pick for pole position, I'm going with Montoya, who seems to be firing on all cylinders right now.
One thing I did take note of during final practice, was which drivers were able to run both the high and low grooves of the track. As Carpenter noted earlier today, the drivers are going to be able to run multiple grooves. And going by the eye test, which car seems to be able to run both grooves effectively? Hinchcliffe's #27 United Fiber & Data Honda looked very strong both high and low. Expect The Mayor to make a serious run to scoring a repeat win at Iowa tomorrow.
Brian C. reporting from Iowa
07/11/14 For the past two seasons, the IndyCar Series has experimented with running a heat race qualifying format at the Iowa Speedway.
Originally meant to be an ode to Iowa's short track dirt racing heritage, the qualifying format has been dropped for tomorrow's Iowa Corn Indy 300 in favor of traditional single-lap qualifying runs.
The 7/8mi D-shaped oval is the shortest track on the IndyCar calendar, but it is one of the fastest, with lap speeds in the mid-180 mph range.
Canadian James Hinchcliffe is the defending race winner on a track where Andretti Autosport has won five of the last seven races.
07/11/14 The Verizon IndyCar Series has been given the two-minute warning, and will begin final practice shortly.
07/11/14 It's about minutes before 2 p.m. local time. Verizon IndyCar Series final practice is currently in a rain delay due to rain. Prior to the scheduled start of practice at 1:45 p.m., there was a slight drizzle, which picked up in intensity as I made my way from pit row back to the media center.
If I had to venture a guess with my very limited knowledge of local weather, I'd say this session will likely be delayed at least 20 minutes. And that is presuming the rain ends soon.
Brian C. reporting from Iowa Speedway.
07/11/14 It's been a relatively slow day here at Iowa Speedway. While still overcast, the track is drying and should be ready to go for Verizon IndyCar Series practice at 1:45 p.m.
p Currently, representatives from Enogen the presenting sponsor are speaking in the media center. Enogen is a company that delivers an enzyme that assists in the development of ethanol fuel. Enogen is presenting a checking to the Renewable Fuels Industry this afternoon in an attempt to help give consumers the option to purchase ethanol fuel at the pump.
Earlier. Ed Carpenter Racing owner/driver Ed Carpenter met with the media. Carpenter has enjoyed quite a season so far, having won a second consecutive pole at the Indianapolis 500, and taking the checkered flag last month in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. In 2013, Carpenter scored a career best fourth-place at Iowa. However, Carpenter says that his finishing record at Iowa has not been indicative of his performance, as he has been caught up in numerous unfortunate incidents over the years. You might remember, Carpenter had a very strong run going in the inaugural race at Iowa in 2007, when he got tangled in a lap 99 accident with Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish, Jr.
When asked what type of racing fans could expect to see on Saturday evening, Carpenter said Iowa Speedway is unique in that it is a short track that allows two groove, wheel-to-wheel racing. He likened the style of racing to Kentucky Speedway, where he of course, won in 2011 when driving for Sarah Fisher. In short, Carpenter believes we will see a lot of passing Saturday evening.
When asked about the setup at Iowa he said the premium would be on rear grip. As for tire degradation at Iowa would likely be somewhere between the extreme degradation we saw at Texas and the minimal degradation at Pocono, where the tires seemed to outlast the fuel stints.
I also caught up with KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser a little while ago. I asked Vasser where things stood with affiliated driver Mikael Grenier. When we spoke with Grenier at Detroit, he was optimistic that he might contest an IndyCar Series race or two in 2014.
Vasser said it was still a possibility, although he noted that it was something of a backburner matter with six weeks remaining in the season. However, he did note that the focus was still on the team putting together a commercial package to run Grenier in some capacity during the 2015 season. He also reminded me the team has run three cars before, and would be running Bryan Clauson in next year's Indy 500 in conjunction with Jonathan Byrd Racing.
As for the teams' full-time drivers, Sebastien Bourdais is signed for 2015. And although, nothing has been completed, Vasser said the intention is for Sebastian Saavedra and Gary Peterson to return as is with KV/AFS Racing. So, as far as the Silly Season goes for KV Racing here's what we have
Brian C. reporting for Iowa Speedway