[media-credit name=”iowacorn.org” align=”alignright” width=”168″][/media-credit]Utilizing a unique format of three 30-lap heat races to qualify for Saturday night’s running of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 with the heat race fields set by times in the second and final IZOD IndyCar Series practice, seven Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 drivers posted top-10 qualifying efforts for the 250-lap race.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, will start second in the 25-car field. Marco Andretti, No. 26 Team RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, will start third, with James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Autosport Chevrolet, in the fourth starting position. Ryan Briscoe, No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, captured the fifth starting position. Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, will start in sixth position. Milwaukee winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Andretti AutosportChevrolet will start in the seventh position.
The field for the third heat that raced for the pole was the eight fastest cars from practice. Heat race one set the even-numbered starting positions from 10th to the end of the field; while the second heat race set the odd-numbered starting positions from ninth position to the back of the grid.
Tony Kanaan, No. 11 GEICO/MOUSER Electronics KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, won the second heat that put him in the ninth qualifying position, but will start 19th as a result of a 10 grid starting position penalty for an unapproved engine change.
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 is scheduled to start Saturday, June 23, 2012, at 9:00 p.m. CT (10:00 p.m. ET) with live television coverage on NBC Sports Network. Live radio coverage will be on XM Radio Channel 94 andSirius Satellite Radio Channel 212. In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be found at www.indy.car.com.
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CHEVROLET INDYCAR V-6 DRIVER QUALIFYING QUOTES:
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 2ND: POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE – PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT: WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE HEAT RACE QUALIFYING FORMAT? “I like it, but I don’t love it as much as I like it, if it makes sense. (LAUGHS). No, joke aside, this is a joke between myself, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. Honestly the practice, it was a little bit more risky than actually the heat race because you were really taking chances, and no know what the other guys are doing. I think, if we do that again, we would run qualifying, one lap or two laps to determine where you are going to go for the heats instead of just going 30 minutes, or 45 minutes, everybody out there. This is the only think I would probably suggest. But other than that, it was okay. Certainly 30 laps, I believe was enough. It was getting tough out there. We were able to make a pass of Marco (Andretti), but not enough time to catch Dario (Franchitti, pole winner). There was not that many cars out there so it was difficult to catch traffic, and things like that. For the first time, like I said, it was positive in terms in the trying. Certainly this Is the things we have to do for the future.”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE A HEAT RACE FORMAT WHERE MAYBE THE TOP-TWO IN HEATS ADVANCED TO A FINAL TO SLUG IT OUT? “Good question. Maybe we should discuss more this format, or should have discussed more before. Brainstorm a little bit more so we could get examples and try. I don’t know if that would be the right thing. Maybe it is, but I’m not sure about the tires; how those guys would have done it, and things like that. But at the end of the day, like I said, I’m happy that we try and we should keep discussing and brainstorm other possibilities so it can become better and better. So that in the future, I don’t know if you are even going to try different ovals, but for sure here, it seemed different. I’m starting in the front row, and that is what I care right now.”
THERE WERE NO INCIDENTS IN ANY OF THE THREE HEATS, ARE YOU SURPRISED BY THAT? “I think everybody was using their heads. It was a heat race, it’s not a race. We should do that as well in an actual real race. Again, at that particular time, I feel like there were not many cars around, eight cars, so that gives space enough for everybody to have clean air. So when you have 20-something cars, it becomes much more turbulent, it will become a little more difficult to do it. Plus, now, in this configuration because there were less cars, some of the guys were trying different setup of wings. Maybe trying to go faster because it was only 30 laps so that would be enough time to do it, it was the first time. That is probably some of the cars that were in front end up going a little bit backwards. It was good practice for the race tomorrow. To understand what your car is going to do. That is probably why there weren’t any incident. It was probably like a little bit of a practice rather than an actual race, and people seemed to behave a little bit better understanding that.”
DID YOU LEARN SOMETHING TO USE TOMORROW NIGHT? “Despite it only being 30 laps, I would say it gives at least an indication of how it’s going to be. Our cars are very sensitive to the weather. It causes them to change quite a lot. That could be an interesting factor tomorrow. But, again, at the same time, you are going to have 20-something more cars out there that might give a little bit of difference. As I said for me, we started a little bit near the front, stayed in the front. We didn’t’ particularly face any real deal what’s going to be tomorrow. But at least I feel we have a good direction for tomorrow. Even if the weather is hotter.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORTCHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD : “We really wanted to get the pole, but we were a little off on our gearing for the car. We can work on that for tomorrow – that’s really the race that counts. We were pretty good, but we need to give ourselves a little more grip and we can be right there. The RC Cola car was fast all day, so we just need to tune on it a little bit to get back out front when it really means something. We can win it from there.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORTCHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 4TH: “I think we learned a little bit tonight. I’m actually glad, almost, that we had heat races this weekend because, with so little practice we had so little time to work on our race cars and (the heat races) gave us a good taste of what we are going to see tomorrow night. Obviously, the track conditions will be a bit different, but we learned a bit. It was nice to move the Go Daddy car up a couple of spots because it was tough to pass out there. Ryan (Briscoe) got a bunch of different runs on me, but it’s so tough to hold the bottom of the racetrack and our car was working pretty decent up high. We were struggling off of Turn 2 and he was getting some good runs on us. That last lap I started really pushing up the track and my spotter told me Ryan was going high – I had to really try and get out of it; I feel bit bad there so, sorry to him for that. But overall, not a bad night and I’m happy to be starting on the outside of Row Two.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 PPG AUTOMOTIVE REFINISH TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET. QUALIFIED 5TH: “The heat race was definitely a sprint race and I think we were able to learn some things about how the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish will perform in tomorrow’s race. I felt like I had a good car, we were a little off on the gear ratio which was making the good runs a little difficult to complete. I think it will be a good race tomorrow, it felt like a couple of lanes opened up for good some racing. We are starting fifth and hopefully will have a good race.”