Iowa: Series rain-out qualifying report

DIXON ON POLE AT IOWA AFTER RAIN FORCES CANCELLATION OF QUALIFYING NEWTON, IOWA, Saturday, June 21, 2008 - For the second consecutive season, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves will share the front row for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by ...

DIXON ON POLE AT IOWA AFTER RAIN FORCES CANCELLATION OF QUALIFYING

NEWTON, IOWA, Saturday, June 21, 2008 - For the second consecutive season, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves will share the front row for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.

The starting lineup was set by entrant points after rain forced the cancellation of PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying presented by Boyer Petroleum. Dixon, the IndyCar Series points leader on the strength of three victories in 2007, was awarded the pole, while Castroneves, who trails the Indianapolis 500 winner by 35 points, will start second.

In the inaugural race at Iowa Speedway last year, Dixon earned the pole and led 10 laps before finishing 10th. Castroneves led 59 laps and finished eighth.

Dixon was only ninth-fastest in practice Saturday, while Castroneves was seventh-fastest. Rookie Hideki Mutoh, who will start seventh, recorded the fastest lap of the day, lapping the 7/8-mile oval in 17.4023 seconds, 184.941 mph.

Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon will start third, Tony Kanaan fourth, Ryan Briscoe fifth and Danica Patrick sixth.

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Sinden Racing Service, the company that manages the IndyCar Series' Indy Fan Zone, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the return of several IndyCar Series driver helmets that were stolen from the Indy Fan Zone while parked outside the company's headquarters in Indianapolis in the early morning of June 16. Helmets belonging to Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Sarah Fisher, Ed Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay were a few of the many items that thieves were able to get away with. The six helmets include Fisher's fan-autographed helmet wishing her luck in her return to the IndyCar Series at Kentucky in 2006, Wheldon's helmet that he wore in winning the 2007 season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Castroneves' helmet from his first Indy 500 victory.

In addition to the helmets, other items stolen included DVD players, laptop computers, Xbox 360 gaming units, microphones and watches. Additionally, damage was done to a number of the display cases.

The Indy Fan Zone travels from race to race throughout the IndyCar Series season, offering fans an up-close look at the sport throughout the race weekend. The Indy Fan Zone is usually stationed outside of each track for maximum fan exposure.

JOHN LEWIS (Vice President of Marketing and League Development, Indy Racing League): "The damages can and will be repaired, and we're working hard to get the Fan Zone repaired quickly to support as many races as we can the remainder of the season. Our biggest concern is that these helmets have some incredible sentimental value to our drivers, and we want to make all efforts to get them returned."

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Entry update: Target Chip Ganassi Racing has changed the name of the No. 9 car driven by Scott Dixon to Commit.

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Marty Roth and Bruno Junqueira will watch the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer from pit lane. Roth's No. 25 car and Junqueira's No. 18 car were both damaged too heavily to repair before the race in separate incidents during practice June 21.

Both cars suffered parts failures prior, which led to the cars spinning into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2.

Junqueira's crash also collected the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Dan Wheldon. Wheldon will compete in his back-up car.

Milka Duno, who crashed during the Open Test on June 20, also will compete in her back-up car.

MARTY ROTH: (No. 25 Roth Racing): "It's a major disappointment. We worked so hard to get a good race car, and I think we made a really good one. It was a struggle at first, but I think we had a really good race car. We had a rear pushrod break going into corner 1, and it was all over at that point. The damage is pretty extensive. We can't fix it for the race. We'll be looking for Richmond now, and we'll have our eyes on John Andretti for the weekend."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 18. Z-Line Designs): "I was running full tanks and new tires, and I was trying to run behind people. The car had some understeer and got loose on the bumps. We had some steering rack problems in the run before and had someone vibration that made it step out. I'm OK. Unfortunately, the car's not OK. It's very damaged. The left rear wishbone broke, which is what made me spin. Hopefully we can get everything together for Richmond."

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Conquest Racing driver Jaime Camara will become a father for the first time on June 25 when his wife Geovanna is scheduled to be induced.

The couple is expecting a boy, whom they are planning on naming Lucca.

Camara won't have a lot of time to enjoy his son. The IndyCar Series rookie is scheduled to fly from Miami to Richmond later that evening to be ready for testing at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the SunTrust Indy Challenge.

JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): "It will be a totally new experience. I don't know what to expect. I don't like to imagine things. I like to wait and see what happens. Just waiting, five more days and that's it." (About leaving for testing) "It's my job. I can't think like that. I have to go. This is the way it is. We're on the road now, it's the busiest part of the season. Everyone understands that, and that's the way it has to be."

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PEAK MOTOR OIL POLE NOTES:

* Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves will start 1-2 at Iowa for the second consecutive season. Last year, Dixon won the pole and led 10 laps en route to finishing 10th. Castroneves led 59 laps and finished eighth.

* Dixon has started from the pole four times this season, winning at Homestead-Miami, Indianapolis and Texas and finishing third at Kansas.

* Castroneves will start in the top 10 for the 11th consecutive race.

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PEAK MOTOR OIL POLE QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Commit, first): "It's been, actually, a tough day for us. We were pretty decent yesterday, and we had some more rain, which shortened that. Today, we just really didn't have the speed. We worked a lot on race setup to try to help the car because I had some issues with the rear end, but even when we went to new tires, we didn't seem to pick up much speed. I think we found a few things for qualifying that Dan (Wheldon) had found earlier today that maybe were going to help, but for me, I don't want to sit on a pole like this. I guess pays off for the work that we did earlier this year. Starting on points is not the way anyone wants to see it. Everyone wants to see qualifying go off because it would have been exciting with the conditions. It's a great start for us. This track is very much about track position, and with the rain out we're starting in a much better positi on than we would have. It's a good thing."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, second): "Obviously the Team Penske cars are running good. I actually feel the same way as Scott (Dixon). It's tough to start like this, but it's a payoff for the entire season. I have a great race car and a good qualifying car. I'm just really excited for the race tomorrow."

(About aborted qualifying attempt): "I saw some rain drops, but I was telling myself, ‘Think it's dry. Think it's dry' It's one of those situations that you don't want anything affecting your performance, especially when it's so tough when you have to go flat out right away. They called it. It was the right decision to make to call it when they did. It would have just done the same for someone else later. The good news is that it didn't affect anyone. The wind was tough, the car was sliding in Turns 1 and 2. It was one of those conditions that would have been exciting, but it is what it is. We've been working hard all year, and now we get to start in the front row."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, fourth): "We obviously wanted to qualify today, but the Team 7-Eleven car is starting in the second row, so I can't really complain. We haven't had as much practice time as we would have liked, but I think we'll be ready for the race."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, fifth): "This weekend has been a lot of fun, and I've really enjoyed my first event here at Iowa Speedway. We've been able to get a lot of practice in, and I think we're in great shape for tomorrow. It's a shame about qualifying, because I definitely feel we had a shot at the pole. We're still starting fifth, which isn't bad, so I think we'll be fine. We've been slowly working our way up the point standings, so tomorrow we're looking for a consistent run. I'm looking forward to the race, and hopefully we'll be able to bring the Team Penske car home in the top-five."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola, sixth): "The Motorola car was fast during both practice sessions today. I wish we were able to qualify, but as long as we can keep the car up front and out of trouble we will be just fine."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, seventh): "I was ready for the qualifying session and was very confident to do well, so I am disappointed that it got canceled. I wanted to start from the front, so starting seventh is a bit frustrating for me, however, all I can do is to do well in the race, so I hope it will be a clear day tomorrow."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Blockbuster, eighth): "I'm incredibly disappointed that we didn't get to qualify today. The Blockbuster car has been really good all weekend, and I think we would have qualified higher than we are going to start. We know that we have a very good race car, but track position is going to be the most important thing in the race. The Blockbuster boys have had great pit stops all year, and I'm sure they'll gain me a few positions tomorrow."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, ninth): "It's frustrating. The rain came then cleared up quickly, but we still didn't get the opportunity to go out and qualify. It's disappointing, because it's so hard to pass at this track, so starting position can be really important. We're here to put on a show for the Iowa fans, and there are still people out here. I don't understand all the reasoning sometimes behind the decisions. We'll just have to start ninth tomorrow based on points, and it could be worse I guess, but I think we would have had a lot better start if we had been able to qualify. We'll see what happens."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, 10th): "I was actually looking forward to qualifying today. The KV Racing Technology team wanted to try a couple more things to get more speed in the car, but with the rain that didn't work out. The good thing is, assuming we grid by points, we will start in the top 10, which will the best starting spot for the No. 5 car on an oval this year."

DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, third): "I'm not sure that the Target car would have stayed at or near the top of the qualifying charts after the incident in practice today, but we'll take it. We haven't been too lucky the past few weekends, so the third place start in a backup car might be a bit of a return favor for us. It was quite windy during the run, and we all knew weather was in the area."

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SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. Garages open
11:30 a.m. Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer pre-race
12:30 p.m. Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer (250 laps/218 miles)

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The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 22 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Jeld-Wen 100 on June 21 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) June 26 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , John Andretti , Sarah Fisher , Helio Castroneves , Bruno Junqueira , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Marty Roth , Chip Ganassi , Jaime Camara , Hideki Mutoh , Danica Patrick , Ed Carpenter
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , Conquest Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing