Whether it’s regular oval qualifying, or the heat races format, it really doesn’t matter to Helio Castroneves. He earned the pole for tomorrow’s IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway. In the end though, he will start 11th after an unapproved engine change. Here’s a quick breakdown of how everything went down on Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.
Castroneves was the fastest driver in single-car qualifying. The top six drivers automatically advanced to the third and final heat race, which determines the top ten starting spots for Sunday’s race. The five drivers joining Helio were Marco Andretti, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, and Oriol Servia.
The first heat race was won by Scott Dixon. Takuma Sato finished second, and both drivers earned a spot in the final heat race. Alex Tagliani finished third, for which he was awarded 1 championship point. While one Target/Chip Ganassi car won the heat, the other (Dario Franchitti) continued to struggle with his car.
The second heat was won by Graham Rahal. Ed Carpenter finished second to advance to the third heat, and Simon Pagenaud earned the 1 championship point for finishing third. It was a bittersweet day for Bobby Rahal. His son got a much-needed finish in one car, but his other car didn’t fare so well. James Jakes got loose and slammed the outside wall hard. They may have to use a backup car for tomorrow’s race.
Castroneves won the final heat race, leading all 50 laps. He gets pole position for Sunday’s race, and earned 9 all important championship points. He is currently the championship points leader, halfway through the 2013 season. Power will join his teammate on the front row, with Hinchcliffe and Andretti putting together an all-Andretti second row. The rest of the top ten; Dixon, Carpenter, Sato, Kanaan, Rahal, Servia.
Helio set a new track lap record at 185.687 mph during his single-car qualifying run. This is the 38th career pole for Castroneves. Both Sato and Ana Beatriz will also incur a 10-spot grid penalty for tomorrow’s race after unapproved engine changes. Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway will begin live at 2:30 PM ET on ABC.