Castroneves Sets Iowa Qualifying Pace
Three heat races of 30 laps each replaced single-car qualifications for the Iowa event in 2012. Race 3 consisted of drivers ranked one through eight by combined practice times and race results determined the first four rows. Dario Franchitti earned the pole position and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who went on to win the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, won the race from the seventh starting position.
This year the format is different:
Race 1 – Will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with position 8 from single-car qualifying. The results of Race 1 shall determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field, starting with position 12. The top two finishers will transfer to Race 3 and start in positions 8 and 10.
Race 2 – Will consist of the odd-numbered positions, starting with position 7 from single-car qualifying. The results of Race 2 shall determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field, starting with position 11. The top two finishers will transfer to Race 3 and start in positions 7 and 9.
Race 3 – Will consist of positions 1 through 6 from single-car qualifying plus the first- and second-place finishers from Races 1 and 2 to determine the pole winner and the first five rows of the starting grid.
“The heats and the main race will be run in the heat of the day so it will be interesting with guys trying different lanes,” said Dixon, who starts on the poles for the first Heat Race. “I don’t mind the single-lap thing but I don’t like the qualifying draw. It’s a bit Barbaric drawing out the of the hat. The Heat races I can take them or leave them. It’s added risks for the team owners if someone crashes their car. Last year we saw one pass in three races. I don’t think it’s needed because it’s not on TV.
“It’s a good track to race on. That is the aspect we look for because short tracks are almost extinct in our series. If we can have some of these on the schedule that is what we want.”
Ed Carpenter will start on the pole of the second Heat race and is used to this type of format from his days in USAC in the midget, sprints and Silver Crown Series.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done Heat Races,” Carpenter said. “This isn’t quite the same. It’s not to say it’s not a good thing but to me it comes down to if it’s good for the promoter and they sell tickets and we can keep races here that is a good thing. But we probably prefer a more normal event. It’s a fun race track to drive. It’s a short track and it’s physical. It’s a big challenge. I’ve had good runs here and bad runs so it’s a challenge.
“Getting bumped from sixth to seventh means I have to run two races tonight when I only planned on running one. In our race I hope we can transfer and have a better starting positions for Sunday.”