Iowa: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing race report

HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED 10TH IN THE IOWA CORN 250 WHILE McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON FINISHED 12TH - McDonald's driver Justin Wilson drove to a 12th place finish after starting 20th in the Iowa Corn 250 on the .894-mile Iowa ...

HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED 10TH IN THE IOWA CORN 250 WHILE McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON FINISHED 12TH

- McDonald's driver Justin Wilson drove to a 12th place finish after starting 20th in the Iowa Corn 250 on the .894-mile Iowa Speedway and ran in the top-10 for a good portion of the race. The inaugural event here last year lacked passing but the capacity crowd was rewarded with a much-improved race this year that saw increased passing opportunities. On the start, Wilson took the high line and was able to gain four positions on the opening lap and another two on the following one to run in 14th place. He alternated between 14th and 15th until the first of six cautions came out from Laps 39-50 for Ed Carpenter, who crashed. He also inherited one spot when Vitor Meira was penalized for running over another team's air hose during the stop.

After the restart, Wilson ran as high as 10th place for five laps before he was passed by John Andretti but regained 10th when he passed Will Power on Lap 80. He held 10th until Lap 106 when the field pitted during the caution from Laps 103-110 for the slowing car of Jaime Camara. A quick stop by the McDonald's team gained him two positions and he ran in eighth place until he gained another spot on the restart to move into seventh which he held for 10 laps before he dropped to 10th when he was passed by Dan Wheldon. On Lap 132, he was passed by John Andretti and ran in 10th place until Lap 151 when he passed Ryan Briscoe for ninth. The field made their third pit stop during the Lap 157-165 caution for Mario Moraes, who spun and Wilson regained his ninth place after the stop. On the restart he temporarily gained eighth place for two laps before he returned to ninth place. The fourth caution of the race from Laps 188-195 for the spinning car of Enrique Bernoldi was pivotal as three cars gambled that another caution would come out to enable them to complete the race without another stop for fuel. Sixth place runner Dan Wheldon, 10th place Hideki Mutoh and 12th place Danica Patrick remained on track and took the top three spots when the rest of the field pitted.

There was a slight hold up on Wilson's stop as the fueler had difficulty engaging the apparatus and he lost one spot and returned to the track in 13th place but moved into 12th when E.J. Viso pit later under caution. The three drivers who gambled on fuel strategy were granted enough caution laps to stretch their fuel to the end when two separate caution periods came out for a total of 20 laps for Moraes and Tony Kanaan, who crashed while running third on Lap 212 of 250. Wilson ran in 12th place for most of the final stint although he had moved up to 11th for nine laps before teammate Graham Rahal, who had a strong car in the final stint, passed him on Lap 241 of 250. Wilson took the checkered flag in 12th place and earned 18 points to move him up one position to 19th place in the IndyCar Series point standings with a total of 135.

The fuel strategy gamble paid off for Wheldon who was able to claim his second win of the season on his 30th birthday. Following are Wilson's post race comments:

"It was an interesting race," said Wilson. "We managed to get through the first lap quite well. Some people had some problems and all got stacked up down on the bottom of the track. I had a clear route on the top and just took everything I could from the situation. On the next lap I got another couple of spots and had moved from 20th to 14th and at one point was in the top-10, running as high as seventh. The McDonald's car was really good early on in the race and I was able to pass on restarts and pass people on the track; I was enjoying it! We keep learning. It was a good result."

- Hole in the Wall Camps driver Graham Rahal earned his first top-10 finish on an oval today with a tenth place in the 250-lap Iowa Corn 250 on the .894-mile Iowa Speedway. He ran well in the final practice session prior to Saturday's qualifying but was unable to show the team's potential when qualifying was rained out and had to settle for a 16th place start based on point standings. During the first stint he ran between 17th and 20th and reported that the car had too much understeer.

The field utilized the first of six cautions that came out from Laps 39-50 for Ed Carpenter who crashed to complete their first pit stops on Lap 41. He ran between 17-18th until Lap 101 when he moved into 16th before his next stop on Lap 106 during the caution for the slow car of Jaime Camara. He returned to the track in 15th and moved to 14th after the restart when he passed Will Power. He held the position for all but the last three laps before his next stop on Lap 160 during the caution for the Enrique Bernoldi, who spun. This caution was pivotal to the race outcome as three cars stayed on track in a gamble that another caution would come out to enable them to complete the race without another stop for fuel.

Sixth place runner Dan Wheldon, 10th place Hideki Mutoh and 12th place Danica Patrick remained on track and took the top three spots when the rest of the field pitted. Rahal ran in 13th place after the restart but dropped to 15th when A.J. Viso and John Andretti passed him for position. The three drivers who gambled on fuel strategy were granted enough caution laps to stretch their fuel to the end when two separate caution periods came out for a total of 20 laps for Mario Moraes and Tony Kanaan, who crashed while running third on Lap 212. The race was restarted for the final time on Lap 227 of 250 and Rahal moved into 12th when he passed the ailing car of Helio Castroneves who was having a tire pressure problem. He ran in 12th until Lap 241 when he passed teammate Justin Wilson for 11th place.

Three laps later he passed John Andretti for 10th place and held the position until the checkered flag. He earned 20 points to maintain his 16th place rank in the point standings with 147 points after Round 8 of 18. The fuel strategy gamble paid off for Wheldon who was able to claim his second win of the season on his 30th birthday. Following are Rahal's post race comments:

"Overall it was a pretty good race," said Rahal. "The guys did great pit stops and the car was awesome, especially that last stint. If we could have had that car all through the race I think we could have moved up through the field. We worked on it all day. In the middle of the race we weren't very good but with stuck with it and by the end I really do think we had a good car. We'll just keep working at it."

-credit: nhlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Enrique Bernoldi , Justin Wilson , Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Graham Rahal , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Briscoe , Will Power , Jaime Camara , Hideki Mutoh , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira