Indycar takes its characteristic blend of tough racing and ridiculous officiating to Iowa Speedway this week, for a race which is paid for by that most beautiful and mysterious of cereal crops, corn.
If we can be honest with each other I opened up a couple of windows' worth of browser tabs of news for a little light research about the event, but spent most of my time on the fantastic Iowa Corn website. Here's the link to its section on the race. "Power, performance, and energy independence are just a couple benefits from using ethanol to power the IndyCar Series cars at almost 200 miles per hour!" While Bernie Ecclestone's tied to a chair and having his balls lashed by OPEC, Randy Bernard's driving along in his Cadillac powered by delicious, nutritious American corn! At almost 200 hundred miles per hour!
I also highly recommend the kids' page of the site's "Corn Education" section. Can you imagine A World Without Corn? There's also an activity book and several printouts for you to colour in at home (colouring activities are one of the things made possible by corn!).
This is getting really corny
I agree. The race is pretty exciting too. Ryan Hunter-Reay is turning into a bit of a short-track specialist, having won the last two events on one-mile ovals (Milwaukee, and New Hampshire last year). When you add that to the fact that the Andretti team has won the last two events at Iowa (including last year's pretty exciting race won by Marco), the omens are looking good for The Double-Barrelled One. Michael Andretti is coming off a bit of a double success at Milwaukee, having had a car in Victory Lane and having pulled off the Lazarus trick and brought The Mile an event of moderate success and moderate popularity. Next year let's hope for moderate-to-good! Local pundits have declared the event's success to be Michael's doing, although we Indycar experts know that it's Ross's thread that was responsible.
How unusual that a discussion of Michael Andretti's drivers has so far omitted mention of the notoriously camera-shy Go Daddy driver, James Hinchcliffe. No worries! After his performance at Milwaukee last weekend which yielded him a third place and second in the points standings, E.J. Viso complained that Hinch was reverting to the way of nature. "I don't understand why Hinchcliffe was not penalized for anything that happened to him. He was blocking me like an animal", said Ernesto. Is Hinchcliffe really one of those high-functioning apes which nonetheless fails to grasp any system of ethics? Will the Indycar field soon resemble that episode of Star Trek when the crew of the Enterprise de-evolved into their ancestor species? These are questions that only time can answer.
No qualifying sessions this time! The grid for Saturday evening's race will instead be set by three heat races, in the style of the short-track dirt racing which Iowa is synonymous with in the minds of all racing fans who like to divide their sporting categories on a state-by-state basis. Although personally I think The World of Outlaws sounds more like a Disneyland ride. Two of the heats will set the grid from ninth downwards and tenth downwards, odd and even respectively, and the third will set the top eight practice runners against each other. Sounds like a recipe for more racing than would otherwise have been the case! Nonetheless some drivers have taken the unusual step of complaining. Ed Carpenter, Marco Andretti and Will Power have all highlighted the possibility of a big repair job after Friday. Power went further and called the whole idea "a bit of a gimmick". In my opinion Australian drivers are a bit of a gimmick, but these days they seem to be an accepted part of the way things are. Give it time, Will!
Hit me up with your schedule
Righto. A word about TV: NBC Sports are starting coverage at 7.30pm ET, so it can get all the pre-race stuff and coverage of Friday's heats in before the green flag waves 90 minutes later. After the race there'll be Indy Lights coverage. "More than six hours of programming" is promised, which means that you Americans will have to stay up late to watch it all.
Friday 22nd June
10.00-10.45: Indycar first practice
13.30-14.15: Indycar second practice
17.15-18.00: Indy Lights qualifying
18.15-19.45: Indycar Heat Races
20.00-22.00: USAC Race
Saturday 23rd June
17.20-18.20: Star Mazda Race
18.40: Indy Lights Race (115 laps)
20.55: Ladies, Gentlemen and Hinchcliffe-animal, start your engines!
21.00: Indycar race, GREEN FLAG (250 laps)
A word on Road America
Edited by Risil, 21 June 2012 - 09:27.