Graham Rahal ran away from the eight-car field in the first of three qualifying heats that will set the IZOD Indy Car Series starting grid for tomorrow’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway, earning the 10th spot for Saturday’s feature.
Rahal ran away with the 30-lap heat, beating Josef Newgarden and JR Hildebrand to the line by a margin of 6.2 seconds. The blistering pace saw the Rahal-paced field complete the 30 laps in less than 10 minutes as it set the outside row for tomorrow’s event.
Hildebrand made a big move late in the race, passing EJ Viso with two laps to go to claim the third spot, but could not get to second-placed Newgarden before the checkered flag flew.
Viso finished fourth ahead of Oriol Servia, Mike Conway and Ed Carpenter with Takuma Sato finishing last.
The victory was a bittersweet one for Rahal however, as he will serve a 10-spot penalty administered by Indy Car for an engine change, meaning that he will start 20th.
“It feels good for the Service Central guys to get a win in the heat,” Rahal said. “We have a good race car, we really pulled away from the field and I hope we are going to have an equally good car tomorrow because we are going to have to come through the field. But I feel good about our car and expect that we’ll do well tomorrow.”