Simon Pagenaud finished sixth last year in Iowa.
INDIANAPOLIS - Schmidt Peterson Motorsports heads to the 7/8th-mile bullring oval at Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 on Saturday, July 12, but the shortest oval on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule may bring out the aggression seen on road courses from Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin.
"Compared to the superspeedways on the IndyCar schedule, the biggest difference you'll see at Iowa is the larger wings on the cars," Pagenaud said. "We use the road course wing so that we have more downforce. You can be way more aggressive than on a superspeedway, where it's all about being smooth and on the edge of grip."
Pagenaud, a 30-year-old Frenchman, finished sixth last year in Iowa. He relishes the opportunity to explore different driving lines at the track in Newton, Iowa.
"On a bullring like this, there's a lot of banking and many different lines you can use to get around the place," he said. "In addition to the driving style, the car setup can also be more aggressive. Racing at Iowa is somewhere between a road course and an oval."
Pagenaud climbed to third in Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings after the Pocono INDYCAR 500, with 402 points. He trails co-leaders Will Power and Helio Castroneves by 44 points.
"We've caught up a lot of points in the last three races, picking up 50 points on the lead," Pagenaud said. "We've been competitive everywhere, and I feel confident where we're sitting. The next few races coming up suit me well, and anything is possible at this point. We're right in the hunt with seven races left, and this is a very exciting time for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports."
"When we tested here, there weren't a ton of other cars, but it gave me a feeling for what the traffic will feel like on this small track with a full field," Aleshin said. "I think it's going to be very exciting and a fun challenge to deal with so many cars packed into this small place."
"We have a very strong class of rookies this year, but I'm not looking so much at the rookie race each weekend," the Russian said. "I'm truly looking at all drivers in the field as my competition. My aim is to win races."
Qualifying for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 will air at 4 p.m. (ET) Friday, July 11 on NBC Sports Network.
WATCH: Catch the SPM action from last weekend at the Pocono INDYCAR 500 below, where Simon Pagenaud finished 6th, and Mikhail Aleshin finished 7th.