Iowa: Series Saturday report

CASTRONEVES, BRISCOE SHARE FRONT ROW AT IOWA NEWTON, IOWA (Saturday, June 20, 2009) - Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will start on the front row for Sunday's Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer based on entrant points...


NEWTON, IOWA (Saturday, June 20, 2009) - Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe will start on the front row for Sunday's Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer based on entrant points after PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying was cancelled.

It didn't rain at the track Saturday, but heavy rain from Friday and earlier in the week caused persistent weepers in several locations on the .875-mile oval. Qualifying was cancelled for the first time since last June's race at Iowa.

The No. 3 Team Penske car driven by Castroneves leads the entrant points thanks to two wins and a second by Castroneves and a sixth at St. Petersburg by fill-in driver Will Power. Briscoe, the leader in the driver points, is second in entrant points.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will start third and fourth, respectively, and Andretti Green's Danica Patrick will start fifth.


Each IndyCar Series car receives eight sets of Firestone Firehawks for the two-day weekend.

The tires are the same compound used at last year's race at Iowa Speedway.

AL SPEYER (Executive Director, Firestone Racing): "The racing at Iowa was much better last year than the year before, we believe, in great part because of the updated Firestone tire specification that we developed for the 2008 event. That's why we decided to bring back that race-proven spec again this year. Because of the uniqueness of the Iowa track - a short oval that demands a tire more like a superspeedway because of the constant high speeds and loads - this is the only venue where this Firehawk spec will be used this season. We're confident it will help provide the exciting racing that the enthusiastic Iowa Speedway crowd saw last year and deserves again in 2009."


Luczo Dragon Racing co-owner Steve Luczo missed the race at Texas Motor Speedway as he presented scholarships and received honorary citizenship in Corleone, Italy, where his grandparents once lived. Luczo visited the land of his grandparents with the mayor of Corleone and brought some dirt from the land back home with him as a keepsake. He will sprinkle some on the car this weekend as good luck. Luczo presented scholarships to 10 high school students heading into their first year of university, including four who had lost both parents growing up.


Nelson & Son Siding of LeClaire, Iowa, won A.J. Foyt Racing's 'Your Name Here' contest for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. The company name will be on the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara. Ryan Nelson will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a meet-and-greet session with Ryan Hunter-Reay. The 'Your Name Here' promotion selected winners by random drawing from a pool of entries sent in by ABC Supply customers earlier this year.


Housby, an associate sponsor of the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing entry, is based in Des Moines, Iowa. Founder Jack Housby, a former NASCAR driver and team owner, started Housby in 1969 as a Mack Truck dealership, and with the help of his sons Kevin and Kelly has grown it into a business conglomerate offering multiple services to its customers.


The Vision Racing Wellness Tour, supported by team sponsor Lilly USA, will provide racing fans at Iowa with free diabetes screenings with A1c testing and risk factor assessment, along with cholesterol and blood pressure testing. The Wellness Tour mobile unit (bus) will be located behind the main grandstands and will be open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday.


Kosuke Matsuura, the 2004 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, is at Iowa Speedway. Matsuura's primary sponsor, Autobacs, is interested in having the driver compete in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in September.

Matsuura posted 22 top-10 finishes in 64 IndyCar Series starts between 2004 and '07, with a best finish at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval of seventh.

KOSUKE MATSUURA: "After '07, I came back to Japan and joined Formula Nippon, and this year I'm doing touring cars in Japan. I want to meet some of the teams. I'm especially interested in Dale Coyne (Racing), Luczo Dragon Racing and KV (Racing Technology). I think I can put something together to race at Motegi."



* The starting grid will be based on entrant points for the first time since last year's race at Iowa Speedway. The starting grids for two races last year were based on points (Twin Ring Motegi). The driver who started first did not win either of those events.

* While it does not count as a pole statistically, Helio Castroneves will start first for the second time this season. He won the Indianapolis 500 from the pole.

* The No. 3 car is first in entrant points despite the fact that Castroneves missed the race April 5 at St. Petersburg thanks to a sixth-place finish by Will Power in that event.

* Ryan Briscoe will start second, Scott Dixon will start third, Dario Franchitti will start fourth and Danica Patrick will start fifth.



HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, first):I have to thank Will (Power) because he helped by having this car finish sixth at St. Petersburg. Those points definitely kept me in the front of the pits and now gave me the pole position at Iowa. Unfortunately for the fans, they didn't get to see the excitement of qualifying. Fortunately, I end up getting a great situation here with a good starting position. Now that we have a Team Penske front row, we'll go for the win tomorrow." "

WILL POWER: (On accepting the PEAK Performance Pole Award with Helio Castroneves): "This was all Helio's idea. He's a great guy. I always like to help out. Starting on the pole here is really important, so it's great to see the two Team Penske cars on the front row. I love working with this team, and I have two great teammates. We all work well together. I experienced it during the month of May at Indy. I'm very glad to help out."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, second): "Obviously, we'd much rather be out there qualifying. It's unfortunate. The good thing is that we're up there in the points and get the front row start. Hopefully, that will help us tomorrow. I felt good for qualifying. I felt like Team Penske had a good shot for the pole. It's so close at the front that it's hard to say, but hopefully they can get the track in good shape for tonight and tomorrow as well."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, third): "It's tough. We should have been fairly decent. The car wasn't too bad in the run, but there was a fair bit of water on the track. The cautiousness there is the more cars you run, the more water you draw onto the track, the guys in the back were going to have a tougher time, and you could certainly crash your car. I think it was a tough decision for (Indy Racing League President of Competition and Racing Operations) Brian (Barnhart), but I think he made the right one."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 TOM TOM, fourth): "It's disappointing because the Tom Tom car was quick. In practice, we did two qualifying (simulations) and both were really quick. We felt we had a car for the pole, but at the same time I think (Indy Racing League President of Competition and Operations) Brian (Barnhart) made the right decision. Scott (Dixon) had said that on the backstretch that the tire was flipping up water. The weepers were so bad. It's really unfortunate for our car and for the Target team and for the fans because they don't get to see qualifying. Starting fourth tomorrow makes things a bit more difficult, but we can still pull it off."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola, fifth): "We had a pretty good day; every change we made had a positive impact on the car. I think in general we have a strong race car, but at the end of the day qualifying is really important. I wish we would've had a chance to get out and make a qualifying run, because I think we could've had a higher starting position than fifth. But we will take it, have a few strong pit stops and hopefully bring home a win for the Boost Mobile car."


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/218.75 miles)

-credit: indycar

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Kosuke Matsuura , Chip Ganassi , Will Power , Dale Coyne , A.J. Foyt , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dragon Racing