Hitting the Apex: Iowa Speedway

Two times the IndyCar this weekend! ATRL’s Eline Luna takes a look at HyVee IndyCar race at the Iowa Speedway this weekend.

Eline Luna

July 22, 2023

IndyCar heads back to the United States for their only double-header of the season at the Iowa Speedway, which has hosted several IndyCar races since 2007.

The D-shaped oval track features banking ranging from 12 to 14 degrees. Due to its less-than-a-mile length, Iowa is deemed a short track. However, the speeds can make it feel like more of a speedway. This is why it’s often called “The World’s Fastest Short Track.”

Newgarden’s dominance 

Josef Newgarden seemed absolutely unbeatable at Iowa last year and has always been fast at the track. Last year he dominantly won the first race of the weekend and was set to take a second win in a similar fashion.

Unfortunately, a mechanical failure saw him crash out of the race with 65 laps remaining. He’ll be looking to make it right and extend his record as the driver with the most wins at the track.

Josef Newgarden on the podium

For Newgarden, this will be an important weekend to try and close the gap to Palou in the championship standings.

Qualifying

Qualifying at ovals is different from Qualifying at road courses.

The qualifying order is determined by the entrants’ championship points. The car with the least amount of points will qualify first, and the championship leader will qualify last. 

For this doubleheader, there will only be a single qualifying session. Drivers will be mandated to set two fast laps, of which the first decides the starting order for the race on Saturday and the second for Sunday. 

Chris Jones/Penske Entertainment

Qualifying, especially at an oval, is not super important for the eventual outcome of a race. But drivers will still be able to score a point for the NTT P1 award. 

Conor Daly returns with Meyer Shank Racing

After a hard crash in practice for Simon Pagenaud at Mid-Ohio, the Frenchman is still not medically cleared to race. Meyer Shank Racing has subbed in Conor Daly to fill in for the Frenchman. Conor Daly was a last-minute substitute at Mid-Ohio and remained in close contact with the team throughout the Toronto race weekend, where Tom Blomqvist made his debut with the team.

Track Layout for 2023:

Championship Fight

Alex Palou continues to lead the championship by 117 points over teammate Scott Dixon. A bad qualifying at Toronto was a great opportunity for any hopeful championship rivals to close the gap to Palou. 

However, with a little luck strategy-wise, Palou managed to salvage a P2 and extended his championship lead even further.

Track Information:

  • Race Length: 250 Laps | 223.5 Miles (Both races)
  • Turns: 4
  • Track Length: 0.875 miles (1.408 km)
  • Most Wins: Josef Newgarden (4)
  • Race Lap Record: 17.2283 Hélio Castroneves

Past Winners in Iowa:

  • 2022 R2: Pato O’Ward

  • 2022 R1: Josef Newgarden

  • 2020 R2: Josef Newgarden

  • 2020 R1: Simon Pagenaud

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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