The Iowa Speedway was looking good under the lights on Saturday night, primed for another intense battle of side-by-side racing. It did not disappoint.
Marco Andretti finally got to victory lane on an oval track. He had a great battle with former teammate Tony Kanaan towards the end of the race. The Iowa Corn Indy 250 was the second win for Marco. His first and only win was 79 races ago, back in 2006 at Infineon Raceway.
Perhaps no team needed a win more than Andretti Autosport. Their struggles at Indianapolis have been well documented, and they haven’t had a good showing overall since Mike Conway’s win at Long Beach early in the year.
The race was a big punch in the gut for Will Power and Team Penske as far as the Championship standings go. During the first round of pit stops, Power’s team finished their services and sent him out, right into the path of Charlie Kimball. The two came together, and Power’s car was severely damaged.
While he was able to repair the nose of the car, it was not handling the way they needed it to, and he ended up spinning out on his own on lap 90, giving him a DNF and a 21st place finish. He suffered a mild concussion in the wreck, and (per IndyCar rules) will have to take the IMPACT test and be re-evaluated and cleared before he can race at Toronto in two weeks.
Power took a big hit in the standings as Dario Franchitti finished in fifth place. They were tied for the lead coming into tonight’s race. Dario now has a 20 point advantage heading into Toronto.
While Franchitti dominated the early part of the race (led 172 of 250 laps), the second half belonged to former teammates Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan. They exchanged the lead multiple times in the final 50 laps.
Kanaan (last year’s winner) came home in second, and Scott Dixon joined them on the podium, finishing third after starting in 23rd. JR Hildebrand and Dario Franchitti rounded out the top five.
Ryan Briscoe had a good night, finishing in sixth, while teammate Helio Castroneves rebounded from an early tire problem to finish behind him in seventh. Ryan Hunter-Reay came home in eight place, while rookie James Hinchcliffe wound up ninth. Danica Patrick, who started in second, finished in the tenth position.
The series will now have a week off before the next race on the schedule, which is set for July 10 in Toronto, Ontario. After completing the fifth straight oval race, the drivers and teams will now shift back to the road/street courses. Starting with the race in Toronto, six of the next seven races are on road/street venues.
The only three ovals that remain are New Hampshire (August 14), Kentucky (October 2), and the season-ending race in Las Vegas on October 16. That should be music to the ears of Will Power and his team, as the driver will look to make up for the points he gave away tonight.
The focus of the night though should belong to Marco Andretti, who definitely deserved it tonight.