IndyCar: Iowa Doubleheader Preview, Predictions, and How to Watch

IndyCar Iowa Speedway
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After a long wait, Scott Dixon finally captured his first win of the season on Sunday in Toronto. Now, the IndyCar Series continues onto the final oval races of the season at the Iowa doubleheader.

“It was a very special day in so many ways,” said Scott Dixon after he won in Toronto, tying Mario Andretti for the second-most wins in IndyCar history with 52. But this weekend at the Iowa doubleheader, IndyCar’s “Iceman” has a chance to make that 54.

Indeed it was, Mr. Dixon. After overtaking Colton Herta during the first round of pit stops, the Kiwi never looked back. After 85 laps around Exhibition Place, Dixon took the checkered flag for the fourth time at Toronto, launching him into a tie for fourth in the championship standings.

Now, the IndyCar series returns to Iowa Speedway after a brief hiatus. In 2020, the last time IndyCar visited Newton, then-teammates Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden took victories as Herta took flight in a bizarre accident. The shortest of the four ovals on the IndyCar calendar at 0.875 miles, Iowa Speedway tends to take a toll on drivers and cars alike.

Who has a shot to take the cake (corn?) at Iowa.

The Circuit

Opened in 2006 and modeled after Richmond Raceway, Iowa Speedway is located in Newton, a town of just over 15,000 that sits 30 miles east of Des Moines. Before the Speedway was built, Newton was best known for being the place where boxing legend Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash in 1969.

Iowa began hosting IndyCar just a year after it opened its gates in 2007, and is currently one of four ovals on the calendar, along with Texas, Indianapolis, and Gateway. However, unlike the other three ovals, Iowa Speedway sits at just 0.875 miles, making it the shortest lap the drivers will see this year. However, do not take Iowa lightly, as the near-constant turning makes a full race around the track one of the most grueling on the calendar.

Made of asphalt, Iowa’s frontstretch is banked at 10 degrees, whereas turns one and two are banked between 12 and 14 degrees, paired with an impressive width of almost 60 feet. Contrary to the frontstretch, Iowa’s backstretch is completely straight and banked at just four degrees, forming a trademark “D” shape. Turns three and four are identical to one and two, and spit drivers back towards the start/finish line for a lap that is typically under 20 seconds.

Championship Standings

As we have now grown accustomed to, Marcus Ericsson still holds a fairly comfortable lead in the points standings

  1. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing – 351 points
  2. Will Power, Team Penske – 316 points
  3. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing – 314 points
  4. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske – 307 points
  5. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing – 307 points

Race Predictions – Iowa Doubleheader

You really never know what could happen when you put open-wheel cars on a short track. That is exactly the reason why I picked one surprise winner and one non-surprise winner for each of this weekend’s two races at Iowa.

Race One – Saturday

For Saturday’s race, Colton Herta will squeak out a victory over Pato O’Ward, with Marcus Ericsson continuing his strong runs at oval tracks like his podium at Texas and victory at the Indy 500.

  1. Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
  2. Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
  3. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing

Race Two – Sunday

Get ready for this one, because it may get a little wild. Since the margin of error is so slim at short tracks, a relatively underrated and surprising first-time winner will snatch a win at Iowa, and that will be David Malukas. Malukas will be closely followed by Romain Grosjean, and claiming the third step on the podium will be three-time Iowa race winner Josef Newgarden.

  1. David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing
  2. Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport
  3. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

How to Watch (All Times in EST)

  • Practice: Friday, 7/22 – 3:15 P.M. on Peacock
  • Qualifying: Saturday, 7/23 – 9:30 A.M. on Peacock (First qualifying lap will set order for Race 1, Second for Race 2)
  • 250: Saturday, 7/23 – 4:06 P.M. on NBC
  • Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300: Sunday, 7/24 – 3:30 P.M. on NBC

All IndyCar sessions will be covered live by IndyCar Radio, which can be found on the official IndyCar mobile app or on SiriusXM Channel 160.

For a list of international broadcasters, click here.

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