Friday, June 24, 2011

Iowa Preview

I'm excited for the Iowa race this weekend, and am actually feeling a bit of the "wish I was there" sting. Not that it's feasible, but at least one friend is there, and it's not soooo far away from home... There's plenty going on around here too, including at my local track. But, it will be really nice to have a weekend at home, with the family, with nice weather so I can actually get some stuff done. Except, of course, for those couple of hours Saturday evening.

Anyway, on to the preview. Let me check qualifying results..... Um, wait, let me do that again. Yes, it appears that Takuma Sato has won the pole and will start first. That was, uh, unexpected. But was it, really?
Formula 1 veteran Sato was (according to race results) the most wreck-prone of the Wall Magnet Racing Tea-er, 2010 season KV Racing Team, crashing in 9 of 17 races. That's saying something when one's teammates are Mario Moraes and EJ Viso. This year has seen a marked improvement: In 8 races, he has 4 top ten finishes and the word "crash" appears only once in the statistics. Two of those finishes were at this season's odd races: the attrition-filled events at St. Petersburg and Sao Paulo. The other two have come in the recent oval-track swing; in the first Twin Race at Texas and last week at Milwaukee. The Milwaukee result is most interesting; it's a drivers track that (from the stands) didn't look particularly easy to set up for. Throw in a pit road fiasco that included a drive-through penalty, loose wheels, tumbling crewmen, stops in the wrong stall, and general cartoonishness. And he finished 8th. One spot behind Scott Dixon and ahead of Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Ed Carpenter, and teammates Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso. In short, he's on a roll. I'll be pulling for him.

At least things go back to normal with the outside pole-what? Oh. Looks like Fan Polarizer Danica Patrick has put her Andretti Autosport car out there. So far it looks like it will be a "hot" week for AA.

Lining up in third is last year's winner Tony Kanaan. Well, that's to be expected.

Fourth is... JR Hildebrand. Oval powerhouse Panther Racing's rookie finally has a decent qualifying result. His best finish of the year (other than the heartbreaking runner-up at Indy) is a 10th at Brazil-not quite what had been expected out of JR this year. Hopefully this will spark the momentum he needs to have a strong remainder of the season.

The world comes back into focus with row 3's Will Power and Dario Franchitti.

As far as other guys I like to watch, Ganassi B Team's Graham Rahal starts 20th and Oriol Servia starts 11th-four spots behind his rookie teammate.

Alex Lloyd starts 22nd, but tweeted that he was down on power.

I'm looking forward to this race (um, ok, I guess I look forward to all the races, so maybe I should retire this old chestnut). For a winner, I'll pull a name out of a hat-oh, it appears that desperate, hungry, angry Helio Castroneves's name has jumped right into my hand. No word on whether he blocked on the way there.

Enjoy the race, all.

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