Earlier this week I was at Amazing Jake’s celebrating P2’s sixth birthday, and once his Tony Stewart cake (flavor vanilla, taste bittersweet) was consumed the adults and our shortys all headed straight to the indoor go-kart track. The track is more circle than oval – like one constant left turn at 15 mph or whatever – and after 10 minutes of this constant cranking to the left I noticed my hands were getting rather sore.
Yes, I felt like a wuss, but that’s not the point. I was still able to pass the teenage Scott Sharps who were holding several block parties, although that’s not the point either.
The point would be this weekend’s inaugural Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the brand spanking new Iowa Speedway presents the IndyCar series version of this go-kart track, although about 170 MPH faster and a smidge longer. The 7/8ths of a mile track will be used like a humongous 218 mile left turn, with the back straightaway being the only section of the track providing about 3 or 4 seconds of straight travel.
So mostly it's an afternoon of constantly cranking left, leaving me to conclude there will be many achy drivers come Sunday night. You know, based on my scientific personal experience. At an indoor playland. In an orange go-kart.
(BTW – if you find yourself at Amazing Jake’s: the Orange cart is way loose, the Blue one has a lot of grip, and the Yellow and Black ones are total pigs. To no one’s surprise the Red one with the “10” on it is hooked up. Just sayin’.)
Since Iowa Speedway is a new track, I’m using strictly the results from the 3/4-mile Richmond International Raceway as a gauge for determining favorites. I’ll give some weight to the results from THE Milwaukee Mile since it’s only a mile in length (hence the name, duh!), but it’s a different type of course being flatter and with longer straightaways. Iowa, like RIR, is as close to making a constant left turn as you will find, although unlike RIR it appears to have more racing lanes.
And if you are traveling to the trace, be sure be sure to read (or re-read) the Pressdog Guide to Iowa. It’s classic.
Also it would seem that based on the impressive displays from both car and driver, many are looking to this race as Danica!’s best chance for a win. Our buddy Pressdog is even anticipating her personally confronting him in Victory Lane. Although she has performed like she CAN win a race, I’m not going to predict a winless driver WILL win one – especially on a brand new track. I can’t drink that much of the Danic-Aid.
In fact, if I was picking a first-time winner I might pick a different driver.
Castroneves – Top 3 for three straight years before tire problems cost him a shot at Richmond last year, and he was “driving with his knees” towards victory in Milwaukee before discovering his new retractable rear wing. Penske has had a few weeks to resolve that issue, and Spiderman is already scoping out a spot on the fence to climb.
Hornish – Two wins at Richmond, a victory in 2005 at Milwaukee, plus he’s coming off a victory in Texas. So yes, the Penske cars will be favored heavily in Iowa, although Helio gets the nod because he tested here before Sam.
Franchitti – Mr Judd was the runner-up at Milwaukee this year with podium finishes at Richmond the last two years. Looks like he’s got a knack for the short track.
Kanaan – He owns Milwaukee, but he has never finished better than 5th at Richmond. Should he be concerned? Naaah. He’s raced well at every track this year, so go ahead and throw the history out the window.
Dixon – Until the wreck (wrexas?) in Texas, Iceman had finished 2nd or 4th in every race this year. There’s plenty of room to move around on this track, but it’s been a long period of short-track misery since that win in Richmond in ’03. Then again, he's tested here before and his pole victory shows it.
Wheldon – Since 2004, TCGR has been under performing on the short tracks. The looked improved at Milwaukee in recording P3 and P4 finishes, but they still appear behind Penske and AGR on these circuits.
Meira – Mirror Man has finished second at Richmond twice, and has also performed well the last few weeks. You haven’t seen much about this, but Panther Racing expressed concern over a scoring issue where Meira supposedly lost a lap at Texas that would have given him his first victory. How dark is this horse?
Patrick – Her best finish on a short track was 4th at Milwaukee – in 2006. Sure she would have fared better had she not had a touching incident with Wheldon, but that doesn’t mean she would have won the race.
Andretti, Carpenter, Foyt, Manning, Scheckter, Sharp, Simmons - It may appear I'm getting lazy here, but this is a new track and the qualification times from the pole sitter (Dixon) to P15 (Manning) is .17 of a second. This race figures to be tighter than Danica!'s...well let's just say it should be close, and it might well be won by any of THESE drives because of fuel strategy or pit stops.
Fisher, Matsuura, Rice - Black cats, broken mirrors, waling under laddrs - whatever the reasons these three have been struggling to get near the front all season long for various reasons. They need to find some speed and take advantage of the close competition.
Duno - As in we DO KNOW she will be at the back.
Money Says: "Helio. Admittedly, I have been a little out of whack on my last few picks. If Spiderman does not climb that goddamn fence out there in Cornholesville or wherever they are, there shall be no more picks from MoneyCJ."
Well, I think the last time we agreed was on Homestead when we both picked Wheldon, so I'm certain Helio will be EVEN MORE fired up on Sunday at his impending victory. Ahem.
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