HIDEKI RETURNS TO THE SITE OF HIS BEST INDYCAR SERIES RESULTS -- 3 FOR 3 PODIUMS Formula Dream/Panasonic driver Hideki Mutoh has competed at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval a total of three times and has finished on the podium each time which...
HIDEKI RETURNS TO THE SITE OF HIS BEST INDYCAR SERIES RESULTS -- 3 FOR 3 PODIUMS
Formula Dream/Panasonic driver Hideki Mutoh has competed at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval a total of three times and has finished on the podium each time which makes the track his most successful on the 2010 schedule. In his two IZOD IndyCar Series starts at this track, he finished second (2008) and third (2009). In addition, he competed in the Firestone Indy Lights Series race here in 2007 and finished third.
HIDEKI ON HIS STRONG FINISHES ON THE PHYSICAL SHORT OVAL
"I really don't know what it is about Iowa Speedway that brings good results for me but I like it. It's a high banked, short oval where you are always turning left; you don't have time to rest. It's a very physical track and you have to constantly be focused. All of those things seem to suit me. In 2008, I started seventh because we didn't get to qualify which was disappointing. I was fastest in the first practice session (184.941 mph) and second fastest in the second practice session (184.187 mph) so I really wanted to qualify but had to start seventh based on my point standing. We could have started much better. I struggled a bit at the beginning of the race and we kept working to make the car better. We tried a different strategy and didn't stop on the last yellow. I think myself, Dan (Wheldon) and Danica (Patrick) gained positions and were one, two and three in order. We needed a yellow and one came out so that was a lucky result from our strategy. We didn't get to qualify last year either and I started 11th but I don't think that was bad because I wasn't that fast in practice. That time, I think we were lucky to be able to start by point standing. The race was perfect; nobody made any mistakes. We gained some places on pit stops and I gained positions on the track on restarts. It was a very good race for me."
800TH CAR ENTERED IN AN OPEN-WHEEL EVENT FOR NHR
The team achieved a milestone of having competed in 450 Indy car races at the 2010 Indy 500 since their first season of competition in 1983. The number includes participation in CART, Champ Car, IRL Indy 500's and the IZOD IndyCar Series to date over the team's 28 seasons of competition (chart available upon request). Including the Iowa Corn Indy 250, the team will have entered a total of 800 cars in these 452 events.
THIRD IZOD INDYCAR SERIES EVENT AT IOWA SPEEDWAY FOR NHR
The team is looking for a good result in their third race at the high-banked 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway. Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos competed for the team here in 2009. Rahal started ninth based on entrant points after qualifying was canceled due to water seepage and ran as high as sixth but contact with Patrick forced an unscheduled stop which put him two laps down and he ultimately finished 11th. Doornbos started 14th based on entrant points. He got sideways on the opening lap and was collected by Ryan Hunter-Reay. The team repaired his left front suspension and he returned to the track to move up three places and finished 15th. Rahal and Justin Wilson competed for the team here in 2008. Starting positions were based on points due to rain. Rahal earned his highest oval finish to date of 10th after starting 16th while Wilson started ran as high as seventh and finished 12th after starting 20th.
RECENT TEST AT IOWA ENDED EARLY DUE TO CONTACT BUT PROGRESS WAS MADE
NHR tested at Iowa Speedway last Wednesday, June 9 but after completing 78 laps, Mutoh crashed between Turns 1 and 2 at approximately 11:45 a.m. CT. He was uninjured but remained sore from the impact for a few days. "The test was going quite good; we had good speed and we weren't in qualifying trim yet," said Mutoh on the day of the accident. "We were running in race trim and the speed was pretty good. I just lost the back end of the car between Turns 1 and 2. There are a couple of bumps there and I hit the big one and just spun. I was a little dizzy afterward but I feel fine now. My legs were banged up a little but physically I am fine."
THE DAYS FOLLOWING THE CRASH AT IOWA SPEEDWAY
"I tried a different line in the entry of the corner, hit the bump, and the wind was blowing in the exit of Turn 2," said Mutoh after taking a few days to mull over the crash. "Three things happened at the same time and I think that combination is why I lost the back of the car. I was very sore the day after the crash. It took three days to recover but I was able to workout again over the weekend and am back to normal now. I've been training with Roger Yasukawa and his trainer in Los Angeles. It was great training for me; it was something new. He worked for McLaren Formula One I believe. We didn't do weights and exercises like that; it was more about balance and strengthening your core. It was good for me because it was a new style."
HIDEKI IS HOPING FOR A CHANCE TO QUALIFY AN INDYCAR AT IOWA FOR THE FIRST TIME
Qualifying was cancelled the past two years at Iowa due to rain (2008) and water seepage on the track (2009). Mutoh is confident of a good result if Mother Nature allows qualifying to take place this year. "We tested last week and we know we have good speed to qualify in the top-five so I really hope we get a chance to qualify there. The track wasn't different this year at all; it was very similar. The bumps may be slightly bigger after the winter but it wasn't a big deal. We didn't get to try everything we wanted at the Iowa test because it was cut short by the crash, but we learned some things that will improve the setup of the car in the race. It was good to make that progress."
PUSH TO PASS ON THE SHORTEST TRACK ON THE 2010 SCHEDULE
IZOD IndyCar Series drivers will have 24 uses of the Honda overtake assist at their disposal for the 250-lap race at the .875-mile Iowa Speedway. Each press of the button will activate the system for 10 seconds of added horsepower. There will be an eight-second reset period between uses. It will be the first time the Honda overtake assist has been used on a short track since it was introduced last August.
NHR ON OVALS
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. Twenty seven of their 107 wins and 19 of their 109 poles came on ovals. The team's previous win on an oval was by Sebastien Bourdais on 6-4-06 at the Milwaukee Mile. Their previous pole on an oval came at Kansas Speedway last season by Graham Rahal (4-25-09). Eight of the 17 races on the 2010 schedule are on ovals.