2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway – Click above for high-res image gallery

The IndyCar Series moved on to the plains of Iowa for the eighth round of the 2010 Championship with a new points leader – Indy 500 Champ Dario Franchitti. Ryan Briscoe had moved up in the standings too, having won the last round in Texas – the race that had seen Penske return to Victory Lane and had almost seen the immolation of Simona de Silvestro. Fortunately Simona was extricated quickly enough to avoid major injuries and was in fact back in action in Iowa.

Qualifying on Saturday had seen early season dominator Will Power at the top of the charts, but he was one of the first drivers on course and had to play a long game of sit-and-wait to see if his time would stand. Follow the jump to see how the rest of qualifying played out, and to read all about the race – the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250 from Iowa Speedway.


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[Images: Chris Trotman/Getty Images, Conrad Schmidt/AP]


Power's four-lap average at this young short-track was 181.377 miles per hour, a seemingly quick time right off the bat, but it seemed even quicker as driver after driver failed to challenge him for pole, most clocking in well below 180 mph. Will himself said that he figured his toughest competition would come from his own Penske teammates, but it was actually Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon (No. 9) who came closest to unseating him. After four circuits of this 0.875-mile oval, Dixon was just .002 seconds slower than Power, and had to settle for second.



Just behind them on the starting grid were Marco Andretti (No. 26 Team Venom Energy Andretti Autosport), Helio Castroneves (No.3 Team Penske) and Dario Franchitti (No. 10 Energizer Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Franchitti having won in each of his previous two starts here in Iowa. Rounding out the top ten were Alex Tagliani (No.77 FAZZT Race Team), Takuma Sato (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology), Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske), Danica Patrick (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport) and Dan Wheldon (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing).


With Mike Conway still recovering from his terrible crash in the Indy 500, Graham Rahal was once again filling his seat in the No. 24 Dad's Root Beer/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara. The second-generation IndyCar driver struggled with the car's setup and only managed to qualify in 17th, while Simona de Silvestro (No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing) seemed to be back to top form, posting a speed quick enough to qualify 20th. Fellow female driver Milka Duno wasn't so lucky. Duno slid up into the wall after bouncing over a series of bumps between 1 and 2 and failed to post a time. The team was hopeful they'd have a car for her on race day, though, and indeed made it to the grid on race day.



On the Sunday of the race, the track showed no ill effects from the area's severe weather the day before, but one car was missing from the grid. There was a gaping hole where the No. 9 Ganassi car was supposed to be and Scott Dixon's team was working feverishly to get his car out where it belonged on the front row. They made it out there with plenty of time to spare and from the drop of the green Dixon showed that the car didn't seem to have any lingering problems. Dixon diced with Power all the way around on the first lap until Justin Wilson's No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car lost traction coming around Turn 3 and spun up into the wall, unfortunately collecting Mario Moraes (No. 32 KV Racing Technology) in the process and ending both of their days way too early.

When the field went back to green, Marco Andretti started a charge to the front, quickly picking off Scott Dixon and honing in on Power for the lead. Would this be the day Marco would get his first win? Only time would tell. A split second later we almost had our answer as the lead duo were about to lap the dangerously slow Duno. The two drivers split to either side of her but rather than maintain her line as they passed, Milka shifted up track, right in front of Marco. That caused the young driver to check up, almost allowing Dixon back past him into second.

Just nine laps later the leaders were again going past Duno, prompting just about everybody watching the race to scream in unison for the stewards to black flag her. Thankfully they heard our pleas and Duno's day was done. It's not that she's a bad driver – well, maybe a little – but her car was clearly underperforming and perhaps she was still a little gun-shy from her qualifying crash.

On Lap 40, Hideki Mutoh (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman/Haas Racing) was the latest rolling chicane for the front two, but this time Andretti got the best of the situation and claimed the race lead. He didn't hold it for long though. Dixon whipped back past a few corners later, but even he was under threat from a new challenger now. Within a handful of laps, Dario Franchitti was whizzing by both Andretti and Power.

Lapped traffic was quickly becoming a problem for just about everybody, and Will Power seemed to get the worst of it. He actually made contact with the back end of the loafing Bertrand Baguette's No. 36 Conquest Racing machine, but was able to back out enough that it didn't seem to cause a lot of damage. It did, however, drop Power back several spots in the running order and brought out the second yellow of the day. It was the perfect time for the first round of stops.



Almost everyone came in besides Graham Rahal, who inherited the lead. There was quite a bit of excitement coming out, as Tony Kanaan booted Helio Castroneves who then got clipped by Scott Dixon as they exited pit lane. It didn't look like there was any damage to any of their cars, thankfully.

As they went back to green flag racing, the front runners quickly gobbled up Rahal and soon the running order was Dixon, Franchitti, the hard-charging Kanaan (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Andretti Autosport), the newly re-sponsored Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 37 Ethanol USA - IZOD Andretti Autosport), Rahal, Takuma Sato, Castroneves, Andretti, E.J. Viso (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KVRT KV Racing Technology) and Power in the top ten slots.

Another yellow flew on Lap 96 when Sarah Fisher (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing) couldn't quite collect it after drifting up into the marbles. On Lap 98 the pits opened and just about everybody was back in for stop number two. No extracurricular activities this time as everybody came back out, although one of Simona de Silvestro's crew members ended up with an injured ankle and she ended up serving a penalty for it. Back to green on Lap 115 it was Dario and Dixon fighting for first, followed by Kanaan, Hunter-Reay and Castroneves in the top five, but T.K. was on a mission.

Kanaan was in the lead by the halfway point, the first time he found himself leading an IRL race since Chicago last year. He had moved up from 15th at the start and was now looking like the best chance for Team Andretti Autosport to claim victory. Dario was having none of it though and after a dozen laps running behind Tony, the points leader moved back to the head of the class. On Lap 147, Simona was parked, her first short track race ending early following a problem that grew out of her run-in with her right rear wheelman.


Out front, Kanaan wasn't letting Franchitti pull away, but the duo had distanced themselves from Dixon who had briefly moved up to join the battle, with Hunter-Reay and the surprising Takuma Sato right behind. It was Sato's first short-track race ever coming just weeks after his very first career oval track race of any kind. Sadly, the former Formula 1 pilot lost it on Lap 178, the air being taken off the front of his Lotus-sponsored car by rookie Alex Lloyd (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing) forcing him high.

Another round of stops and Team Penske seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, managing to get Helio Castroneves out in second, right between Franchitti and Kanaan. That put the top three teams in the top three spots with 65 laps to go. As the field got back up to speed following the green, Helio moved past Dario for the lead, but Franchitti fought back, the duo just ahead of Kanaan. It looked to be an epic battle to the checkers, but suddenly Dario slowed, an apparent gearbox problem ending his hopes of going three-for-three in Iowa.



After serving a drive-through penalty for clipping a stacked tire in the pits, Ryan Hunter-Reay had dropped out of contention, but moving up was E.J. Viso, who had started way back in nineteenth. With 28 laps to go the leaders had to thread through some lapped traffic, which happened to include some former front-runners, making passing a bit more difficult due to the closely matched speeds. As they came through, Castroneves was well ahead of T.K. who was a bit further clear of third place Viso as well.



Kanaan still had a couple more push-to-pass actuations more than Helio and with 11 to go he timed one perfectly, flying past Helio and into the lead. He never looked back, claiming his first win in Iowa, a track he has struggled with in the past. Castroneves held on for second followed by Viso who scored his best finish ever, Briscoe, Power, Dixon, Vitor Meira (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing), Hunter-Reay, Rahal and Patrick in the top ten.

Will Power finds himself back atop the points lead following his best oval finish of the year, followed by Dixon, Franchitti, Castroneves, Briscoe, Kanaan, Hunter-Reay, Wilson, Andretti and Wheldon as the Izod IndyCar Series moves off of the ovals and onto a string of five road courses in a row beginning with Watkins Glen on Independence Day. See you then.


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Qualifying:
QP Car Driver Sponsor Team Time Speed
1 12 Will Power Verizon Team Penske Verizon Team Penske 1:10.9925 181.337
2 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:10.9945 181.332
3 26 Marco Andretti Team Venom Energy Andretti Autosport 1:11.1230 181.005
4 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Team Penske 1:11.1706 180.884
5 10 Dario Franchitti Energizer Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:11.1805 180.859
6 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team FAZZT Race Team 1:11.1835 180.851
7 5 Takuma Sato (R) Lotus-KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 1:11.2541 180.672
8 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Team Penske 1:11.2541 180.672
9 7 Danica Patrick Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport 1:11.4863 180.085
10 4 Dan Wheldon National Guard Panther Racing Panther Racing 1:11.5591 179.902
11 22 Justin Wilson Team Z-Line Designs/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:11.5696 179.875
12 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Ethanol USA - IZOD Andretti Autosport 1:11.6531 179.666
13 14 Vitor Meira ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1:11.6733 179.615
14 19 Alex Lloyd (R) Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing 1:11.7727 179.366
15 11 Tony Kanaan Team 7-Eleven Andretti Autosport 1:11.8758 179.109
16 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 1:11.9300 178.974
17 24 Graham Rahal Dad's Root Beer/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:12.1972 178.312
18 67 Sarah Fisher Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing 1:12.2485 178.185
19 8 E.J. Viso PDVSAJet AviationKVRT KV Racing Technology 1:12.2867 178.091
20 78 Simona de Silvestro (R) Team Stargate Worlds/HVM HVM Racing 1:12.3565 177.919
21 2 Raphael Matos HP Luczo Dragon Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Mtrsprts 1:12.3878 177.842
22 36 Bertrand Baguette (R) Conquest Racing RACB Conquest Racing 1:12.6403 177.224
23 34 Mario Romancini (R) Conquest Racing Conquest Racing 1:12.9647 176.436
24 06 Hideki Mutoh Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman/Haas Racing 1:14.2129 173.468
25 18 Milka Duno CITGO Dale Coyne Racing No time No speed

Finishing Order:
FP Car Driver Team Laps Time Status Points
1 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Autosport 250 01:42:12.4036 Running 50
2 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 250 01:42:16.6066 Running 40
3 8 E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology 250 01:42:17.6574 Running 35
4 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 250 01:42:21.4572 Running 32
5 12 Will Power Team Penske 250 01:42:21.9938 Running 32
6 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 250 01:42:27.6719 Running 28
7 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Enterprises 250 01:42:29.2739 Running 26
8 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 249 01:42:22.6725 Running 24
9 24 Graham Rahal Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 249 01:42:23.3604 Running 22
10 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 249 01:42:28.6017 Running 20
11 4 Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 249 01:42:29.1377 Running 19
12 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team 248 01:42:28.0245 Running 18
13 19 Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne Racing 248 01:42:30.0354 Running 17
14 2 Raphael Matos de Ferran Dragon Racing 247 01:42:14.4497 Running 16
15 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 244 01:42:19.5646 Running 15
16 34 Mario Romancini Conquest Racing 244 01:42:20.5938 Running 14
17 36 Bertrand Baguette Conquest Racing 237 01:42:20.9844 Running 13
18 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 212 01:38:56.3371 Running 14
19 5 Takuma Sato KV Racing Technology 177 01:13:27.0456 Contact 12
20 06 Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas Racing 131 01:02:50.1732 Handling 12
21 78 Simona De Silvestro Team Stargate Worlds/HVM 128 01:01:54.4420 Handling 12
22 67 Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing 92 00:39:22.0567 Contact 12
23 18 Milka Duno Dale Coyne Racing 31 00:16:22.4803 Handling 12
24 22 Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 0 00:00:01.0238 Contact 12
25 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 0 00:00:01.5126 Contact 10

Driver's Standings:
CP Driver Champ Lead Oval Lead Road Lead Points Gap
1 Will Power X X 274 0
2 Scott Dixon X 263 -11
3 Dario Franchitti 260 -14
4 Helio Castroneves 251 -23
5 Ryan Briscoe 240 -34
6 Tony Kanaan 229 -45
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay 225 -49
8 Justin Wilson 191 -83
9 Marco Andretti 184 -90
10 Dan Wheldon 183 -91
11 Danica Patrick 178 -96
12 Vitor Meira 160 -114
13 Alex Tagliani 156 -118
14 Raphael Matos 142 -132
15 E.J. Viso 138 -136
16 Alex Lloyd 136 -138
17 Mario Moraes 131 -143
18 Hideki Mutoh 118 -156
19 Mario Romancini 113 -161
20 Mike Conway 110 -164
21 Simona De Silvestro 109 -165
22 Takuma Sato 95 -179
23 Graham Rahal 95 -179
24 Milka Duno 80 -194
25 Bertrand Baguette 77 -197
26 Sarah Fisher 53 -221
27 Tomas Scheckter 36 -238
28 John Andretti 35 -239
29 Ana Beatriz 33 -241
30 Jay Howard 20 -254
31 Ed Carpenter 20 -254
32 Townsend Bell 18 -256
33 Sebastian Saavedra 15 -259
34 Davey Hamilton 14 -260
35 Bruno Junqueira 13 -261

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