After the thrilling doubleheader weekend for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America the NTT Data Indycar Series teams are ready to do it again, this time on the short 1.4 km oval of Iowa Speedway under the floodlights on Friday and Saturday night for the Iowa IndyCar 250s.
Despite finally losing a race this season, Scott Dixon still leads the points standings by a sizable margin over Colton Herta with 173 points to Herta’s 119. A second doubleheader weekend could be the perfect opportunity to cut into Dixon’s lead, or for the five time series champion to continue his dominant 2020 season.
Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend’s Iowa IndyCar 250s.
WHAT HAPPENED AT IOWA IN 2019?
After almost a seven hour delay due to massive thunderstorms, Josef Newgarden dominated as he led 245 of the 300 lap race.
Team Penske held the top three spots in qualifying, as Simon Pagenaud started on pole followed by Will Power and then Newgarden. The trio would remain at the front of the pack in a routine race until Ed Carpenter wrecked exiting turn two, causing a strategy dilemma with a track so hard on tyres.
Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi were the big benefactors of the caution, as Dixon was trying to stay out as long as he could one lap down to make his final pit stop and gain his lap back under yellow.
Both Dixon and Rossi took advantage of their fresh rubber and tore through the field to try and get to Newgarden, but traffic proved to be too much as Newgarden would go on to win.
You can read the full race report HERE
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND
Before getting into who to look out for, qualifying is being adjusted for this weekend. Unlike last weekend, there will only be one qualifying session on Friday. Drivers will have two flying laps in their qualifying run, with the first lap determining the starting grid for Friday, and the second lap setting the grid for Saturday.
This has been done in an effort to give mechanics a little bit more breathing room, with these races being the fourth and fifth races in only a 14 day span.
After a disappointing two races at Road America, Josef Newgarden will be one to watch as he looks to rebound at one of his best tracks. Newgarden has five top ten finishes and four podium finishes, two of which are wins.
Of course Scott Dixon would like to get back to winning ways to grow his 54 point championship lead, having won the first three races of the season, but Chip Ganassi Racing as a whole is a team to watch.
The team has won every single race so far, due greatly to Dixon, but in the second race at Road America, Dixon’s Swedish teammates were the ones who stole the show. Felix Rosenqvist won the race, and Marcus Ericsson was lightning fast and finished in fourth place.
Obviously a short oval is a very different track than a massive road course, however if they bring that momentum and pace that they showed at Road America, they could be a threat.
Much like race winner Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi’s fortunes were turned around as he quietly had a very strong performance in race two and got his first podium of the season. Rossi has three top ten finishes in four races at Iowa, but only has a best finish of sixth.
Currently sitting 18th in the standings with 66 points to his name, Rossi will be hoping to carry the momentum from that podium and finally kickstart his season.
Friday 17 July
14:00 EST / 19:00 BST – Practice
17:30 EST / 22:30 BST – Qualifying
20:30 EST / 1:30 (Sat) BST – Race
Saturday 18 July
15:30 EST / 20:30 BST – Final Practice
20:30 EST / 1:30 (Sun) BST – Race
WHERE CAN I WATCH?
Coverage in the UK for qualifying and the race will be provided by Sky Sports F1.
In the United States, coverage for the races will be on NBCSN. Practice and Qualifying will be shown on NBC Sports Gold.
HOW CAN I KEEP UP WITH ALL THE ACTION?
You can follow all the all the action here at The Checkered Flag. We will be providing coverage of the practice, qualifying, and race sessions.
You can also follow IndyCar on Twitter (@Indycar) for live updates during the sessions.