Track Talk: Iowa Corn 300 Preview

The IndyCar’s are in Iowa for the only short track showdown of the season. We preview the Iowa Corn 300 in this week’s #TrackTalk.

Can Andretti Autosport break through? 
We noted a couple of weeks back that notwithstanding the 2016 and 2017 Indy 500’s, Andretti Autosport hasn’t won a race since Pocono, 2015. Both Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay are past winners, while no other team has more Iowa IndyCar wins than Andretti Autosport- a whopping seven times in just 10 years.

Can Team Penske break through?
Here’s an interesting stat: Iowa is the only race on the current IndyCar schedule that Team Penske is yet to win. Could this be the year that changes? This writer believes that last year’s winner Josef Newgarden, is their best bet to win.

Can Scott Dixon break through? 
Can Scott Dixon’s recent change of luck carry over into Iowa? Dixon is winless at Iowa- one of the very few tracks on the current IndyCar schedule where he’s yet to record a victory. He’s leading the points, and needs a strong finish to maintain his lead.

Ed Carpenter:
IndyCar’s resident oval-meister has three more opportunities to win this year. He’s never won at Iowa but has come close in the past. Many remember the 2015 race for Ed Carpenter’s wheel-to-wheel battle with Sage Karam, and the animated post-race confrontation that followed.

And speaking of Ed Carpenter: 
We can’t talk about Ed Carpenter without mentioning his teammate, JR Hildebrand. The young American’s return to fulltime IndyCar competition hasn’t produced the results many expected. He did podium at Phoenix. Could another strong finish be in the cards at Iowa?

Esteban Gutierrez: 
Esteban Gutierrez makes his oval track debut at Iowa- not an easy feat given the close quarters racing short tracks produce. But after a test at Gateway Motorsports Park, the former Formula One driver has a new appreciation for oval track racing. What should be his goal? Stay out of trouble and bring the car home in one piece. With IndyCar limiting the amount testing teams can undertake, there’s no better way to log experience than to finish a race.

The favorites for Iowa: 
Iowa is the shortest track on the IndyCar schedule with a history of producing some excellent racing and in some cases, the odd crash fest. It’s much easier to pick who will run up front versus who is likely to win. At TrackTalk we think five drivers have a likely chance at winning. Keep your eyes on: Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, with Graham Rahal as our dark horse to win.

Victor Genova is the host of the Media People Podcast and a freelance racing writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicGenova

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