Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet will roll off from the pole for tomorrow’s Iowa Corn 300 at the Iowa Speedway.
The Team Penske driver set a two lap average of 180.073MPH and starts the race just ahead of his team mate’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet and series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Honda was the fastest Honda driver as he set a two lap average of 177.646MPH.
(The qualifying session) was very intense, with the temperature being so high. The tarmac (track temperature) was 135 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, the car slides around quite a bit. It’s all about having the right balance on the race car. We had a good snapshot this morning of how the car was. We ran quite a bit in traffic. We knew we had to make some adjustments to be really strong on long runs. At the end, we did a qualifying run. (it was) pretty good. Ben (Bretzman) is really good at this stuff, my engineer. We just worked on the little details and made sure we would have enough balance and grip to go through the corner.”
Will Power said:
Is it any surprise that I’m second? Is it any surprise (laughter)? It isn’t for me. That’s just this year. No, (the run) was actually pretty good. The car was good. All three (Penske) cars were good.
Josef Newgarden who leads the championship by four points commented saying:
Yeah, just not enough today, so we will go tomorrow. I think it will be fine, it just wasn’t enough there. The Hitachi car, it feels good. Chevy, I think, has done a great job for us, so now we will work on the race.”
Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda starts the race he won last year from fifth place with a two lap average of 176.200MPH.with Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda starting the race in sixth just ahead of Graham Rahal.The Mayor of HinchTown said:
A good run for No. 5 Arrow car. These track conditions are so tough right now with the temperatures the way they are, the wind the way it is. I have to thank (teammate) Marcus (Ericsson) for giving me good advice from his run. We’re starting better than we did last year and we won from 11th last year. The race car was really good in practice, so thanks to the Arrow SPM boys for giving us a strong car. We’ll see where we can go from here.”
Defending series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda was left disappointed as he will start the race from eighth place.
Ryan Hunter Reay starts the race from ninth place for Andretti Autosport while Marcus Ericsson who was tracking P1 for a while ended the session in 10th place. Colton Herta starts the race from 11th place just ahead of Santino Ferrucci and Tony Kanaan while Sage Karam starts the race from 14th place,
Felix Rosenqvist starts the race from 15th place just ahead of Conor Daly. Ed Carpenter and Marco Andretti start the race from 18th, Spencer Pigot starts from 19th just ahead of Zach Veach and Sebastien Bourdais while Mathues Matt Leist starts the race from 22nd place.
Speaking following the session, Felix Rosenqvist said:
I think it definitely helped for us to have the test here. It helped getting up to speed here in practice this morning, for sure. I didn’t feel great with my qualifying run. The balance didn’t seem quite right, and so that’s something we need to go back and work on with the PNC Bank car.”
Conor Daly said:
The conditions were really tough out there, especially being the first car out after the ARCA cars ran right before qualifying. There was junk rubber and oil all over the outside, which made it tough to run up high. I love lane two in Turns 3 and 4, which is where I was really comfortable all morning in practice, but I just couldn’t run it. I had to be pretty dedicated to the low line and I just didn’t like it down there. It’s just a shame, because I think the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet had a little more speed in it than that. We’re going to put our focus now on tonight’s practice and get our race car a bit more fine-tuned before green flag tomorrow night.
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda commented saying:
The car caught me out. It was pretty different end to end from practice. The car was really loose in Turns 3 and 4, then we had understeer in Turns 1 and 2. The lap is a short one, making it hard to switch back and forth with the tools. We need to find that balance during practice tonight. We have to get the car working over the bumps. This team was pretty good here when it was smooth and now it feels almost like a different racetrack.”
Spencer Pigot commented saying:
We definitely need to see where we can improve. The car has been a bit of a handful so far. We had a great race here last year, so we know what we need from the car. We just have to try and find it. Hopefully, we can have a good session this evening and get the Autogeek Chevy back up front.”