LiveBlog: Iowa 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 6/21/2009 | 8 comments »
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Welcome to Iowa, where...what am I going to say that pressdog hasn't already said? Seriously. It's noon in Iowa and the p-dog has already posted SIX TIMES today. His coverage of his home-state race is beyond comprehensive, so rush over to his site this instant to catch up on everything.

Weather has played a factor this weekend as "weepers" - those dreaded spots on the track where moisture seeps up and causes the racing surface to become slick - have played such a factor that qualifications for today's race were canceled. As a result we have ordered the field on the drivers' points standings...oh, wait - what? We've ordered them on ENTRANT points? So Helio - 4th in the standings - gets to start from the pole position because Will Power raced so well in the #3 car at St Pete?

Did I miss the memo? Do we now have an "Helio Directive"? Good grief.

At any rate, it's time to start.

0: ESPN/ABC has a little timer "To Green" at the top of the screen. Almost begging people to not watch the next 11:48 of the broadcast.

0: ...and just like that they pulled the timer off the top of the screen.

0: Marty Reid says "Here's Danica on the cover of N****R Scene". In case you did not know, ESPN paid LOTS of money to show LOTS of N-word races. Seriously, is ESPN is trying to kill the IndyCar series? What is up?

0: "Drivers, please start your corn-fed ethanol engines". And I swear I just heard the sound of popcorn.

0: Looks like a packed house in Iowa. Ready to go green.

1: We are GREEN, and it was nearly a decent formation to start.

2: YELLOW! Viso is out - shocker, I know. Put the number '13' on your car and see what happens. Robert Doornbos is out as well. Looks like they both got

3: And it looks like Ryan Hunter-Reay - in the Foyt car for the remainder of the season - got clipped as well and is out as well. Replay showed Mario Jonas Moraes getting loose in the same spot. Is this an episode of "When weepers attack?"

6: Pitstops for Danica and some other drivers. Apparently she had a tire going down. Also a replay of an amazing move by Mike Conway to squeeze between Doornbos and Viso. Perhaps this is the start of a run of completed races by the red-haired rookie.

9: Replay of Tomas Scheckter standing on the gas and going from 16th to 9th. Become a member of his sales force today! Or not.

11: And we're back to green as Helio leads the pace.

17: Passing for the lead! Dixon looks to move around Helio on the high side but SNAP there goes parts of Helio's front wing. YELLOW! Helio has a damaged wing and Dixon has a flat tire. Dario Franchitti in a horrendously ugly green Tom Tom car will take the lead.

20: Pit stops for some of the leaders, which means Briscoe, Scheckter(!) and Marco now lead.

23: Back to green, but we're side by side. Consequesntly I can see Grahamburglar slowing but I don't know why. Meanwhile Scheckter is all up in Briscoe's business

27: Mario Jonas has received a black flag for blocking. Blocking gets called in the IRL about as often as travelling in the NBA.

28: Replay shows Son of 'Stache slowed because he was three-wide with Danica and Conway and had to lift to avoid going Rahal into the Ra-wall. Conway is everywhere today.

35: YELLOW as Justin Wilson has spun and hit the wall. Iowa speedway is chewing up IndyCars and spitting them out. We might not have enough cars to run the full 250 laps today.

37: Free corn-based ethanol in the puts so the leaders come on down. On exit it's Briscoe, Marco, Wheldon, Mutoh and Tomas. They may not be leading anymore as other drivers have elected to stay out.

38: New leaders are Patrick, Conway(!!) and Dario. Mike Conway is in second place. Time to check for a swarm of locusts.

43: Back to GREEN and Dario zooms past Conway. Setting his sights on Danica.

47: Lots of side-by-side action. I've missed this. Excuse me while I enjoy it.

50: Setting the pace are Danica, Dario, Conway, Kanaan, Helio.

54: Tomas is passing Dixon and moving up through the field. As well as Conway and Scheckter are doing it looks like D&R engineer Larry Curry did something right today.

55: YELLOW #4 as Matos and Moraes are sliding down the track. Replay shows Matos lost it and Mario went high to avoid hitting him, but unfortunately went all the way into the wall. By my count we are down to 14 cars.

57: Danica, Dario and Conway all pit so Tony Kanaan is your new leader.

60: Kanaan, Wheldon, Scheckter, Briscoe, Mutoh now lead. What, no Ganassi cars?

66: Back to Green and Scheckter quickly goes around Wheldon for 2nd. Briscoe goes side-by-side battling Mutoh for 4th. Three cheers for overtaking!

74: Wheldon works on Scheckter and takes back 2nd place. A frenzy of passing is breaking out in Iowa.

82: The lead drivers are coming up on some traffic. "Traffic" is code for "Jaques Lazier in the Team 3G entry", which amazingly is still on the track.

86: On a personal note, the best Father's Day gift is seeing P3 running around shouting "Tony Ko-nahn in the lead!!!" over and over right now. P1 - Danica fan that she is - is baking cookies right now. I kid you not.

95: Same Top 5, next five is Dario, Marco, Helio, Danica, Dixon. Conway and Carpenter are the other cars on the lead lap. Lazier and Rahal are two laps down, and that's the entirety of the field.

106: Kanaan pits and Wheldon takes the lead.

110: YELLOW for Tony Kanaan as his car slows with broken parts. Still smarting from his wreck at Indy he gets out under his own power.Third time in three tries his race at Iowa ends in a wreck. P3 pauses for a moment before saying "I'm going to cheer for Danica now".

112: Everyone - what's left of them - pits, and on exit it's Briscoe, Franchitti, Wheldon, Mutoh, Scheckter. Five different teams in the Top 5 now. I could just hug this race track.

118: Exiting the infield medical center Kanaan says "The only good thing is we crashed on the left side. My right side is still hurting".

124: Back to...nevermind. No start. Looked like Mutoh and some others were trying to jump the start.

125: This time, back to green - and within a lap Dario takes the lead from Briscoe. Mutoh gets around Wheldon for 3rd. So much passing I can hardly take it.

128: Insert the sound of me slapping my forehead as Scott Goodyear discusses Danica, currently 7th, possibly going to N****R. We're just beyond the halfway mark of the race so I'm sure he was obligated to mention this.

138: Ryan Briscoe going wheel-to-wheel with Dario before passing Dario on the high side for the lead. I think it's safe to say there are multiple racing groves here today.

150: Just like at Texas, once Ryan Briscoe has the lead he switches to the "checking out" setting on his fuel mappings. He's ahead of Dario by nearly 2 seconds.

152: I seriously think Marty Reid doesn't know who's driving the #98. Everytime Jaques Lazier is on screen Reid calls him "traffic".

160: Shockingly we've gone 50 laps without incident. (I hope I didn't just jinx the race.)

173: Here's video of Dixon nearly taking out Marco. Conway went low on Scott attempting a pass, and Dixon, having never been passed by the #24 before, was obviously startled and moved up into Marco's line. Marco lifted and everyone survived.

183: Danica is going 7 mph slower than the leader (Briscoe). Smells like fuel conservation.

187: Apparently there is still passing going on, but since all we see is the leaders spacing out we're not seeing much of it right now.

192: Dario has reeled in Briscoe and they're both closing in to lap Danica. Amazingly, she's not 7 mph slower anymore.

195: Briscoe and Wheldon break off for what should be their final pit stops.

196: Scheckter and Mutoh pit.

198; Dario and Helio pit.

199: Dixon pits. Jack Arute tells us "He's had a slight rear end problem". Ahem.

200: Danica, the Queen of Lean, pits.

201: Leaders are now Dario, Briscoe, Mutoh, Wheldon, Dixon. Dario is closing in to lap the ever-present Mike Conway.

205: That's right, Mutoh is still in 3rd. He finished 2nd here last year, so he might have a long career as a spot driver in future Iowa races.

222: The passing appears to have completely stopped. I don't even see Jaques Lazier getting lapped anymore.

228: Hang on, Briscoe is closing in on Dario...nope, can't catch him. False alarm.

235: Dario is now lapping Scheckter and Conway, who are in 7th and 8th. Thanks for pretending the cars were easily matched earlier today.

240: Dario going around Helio. Going around his teammate Dixon who's in 5th. Busting out a huge can of whoop-ass.

245: Dan Wheldon, in 4th, clinging to the lead lap.

249: White flag. Oh the drama - NOT!

250: Dario wins. Two for two here, he is. Another win for the Big Two as well. Briscoe, Mutoh, and Wheldon follow behind as the last cars on the lead lap.

And now we rush to interview Ashely Judd. Something about "College basketball", "Beef on the track", "Elder statesmen", and "Summer solstice". I try not to listen to carefully lest I suffer permanent mental injury. More interviews follow but my head is clouded with confusion now. I thought I heard Jack Arute utter the phrase "screw the pooch" but I can't be certain.

Congrats to Dario and his obvious mastery of Iowa. It was a great race until he decided it no longer needed to be a great race. Best wishes to all of the fathers out there today, thank you all very much, and good night.


  1. James // June 21, 2009 11:04 AM  

    One of the trackside cameras looks like someone cleaned the lens with a sweatsock. It's a major network: they can't celan a camera lens???

  2. redd carr // June 21, 2009 12:44 PM  

    marty reid and scott goodyear should make relaxation tapes that lull people into a stupor because they just dulled me into a stupor.

    and is it my imagination or is Scott Dixon starting to develop a personality?

  3. Anonymous // June 21, 2009 1:31 PM  

    Jack Arute did say "screw the pooch"

  4. Sarah Fan // June 21, 2009 2:13 PM  

    I'm glad someone else noticed the smudgy camera lens. I spent a minute or so trying to clean my glasses before I figured it out. Duh.

  5. H. B. Donnelly // June 21, 2009 2:45 PM  

    Funny you should mention ESPN trying their damndest to kill the IRL. I happened across the N****R Busch Grand Nationwideinal series race at Milwaukee and it looked SPECTACULAR. The cameras were clear as a bell, they were in great locations, there were cool lead-ins and even a historical thingy featuring...Indy Cars! Why do I have to watch a N****R race to see highlights of the Milwaukee from 40 years ago and we don't get bull-squat on the IRL broadcast from the same network?! put the IRL Beer Town broadcast next to the N****R one and the IRL show will look like it was made by a class of high school sophomores. Paaaa-thet-ic!

  6. Uncle Dan // June 21, 2009 6:50 PM  

    Do yourself a favor. Turn the sound off on the TV and tune in the IMS Radio Network. Unmute during interviews with drivers who don't finish.

  7. Dale Nixon // June 22, 2009 5:26 AM  

    Uncle Dan - I've always tried to do that but it always seems the radio feed is two laps behind the screen, for whatever reason...the delay was especially bad at Indy this year.

  8. AZZO45 // June 22, 2009 6:05 PM  

    Helio Policy?

    Penske leads ICS team points & Helio leads his team with overall he gets the prime pit spot?

    No Brazilian Favoritism here.