Iowa rain hands pole to Dixon

Scott Dixon will start from pole position for the IRL IndyCar Series race at Iowa after rain forced the cancellation of qualifying

Iowa rain hands pole to Dixon

Poor weather had already caused yesterday's test to be truncated, and although practice and the Indy Lights support race were successfully completed on a dry track today, a thunderstorm then struck after two of the 24 competitors had completed their four-lap qualifying runs.

That ultimately led to the session being abandoned completely, with the grid to be formed based on entrants' championship positions.

This will be a boost for points leader Dixon and his Ganassi team, as the 2003 champion had struggled for speed so far in the Iowa weekend, and was only 12th fastest in final practice, but will now start from pole for the fifth time in eight races this year.

Penske's Helio Castroneves will join Dixon on the front row, ahead of Dan Wheldon (Ganassi) and Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green).

Both Dixon and Castroneves indicated they might have had trouble getting to the front row without the assist from the weather.

"Our car was decent in race set-up, but when we put new tyres on it, it didn't speed up much," said Dixon, who has pledged to donate any prize money from the race to the Iowa flood relief effort.

"Today would have been tough to qualify, but it also would have been fun for the drivers. It would have been quite interesting, but it would have been tough for us to get on pole."

Castroneves had a run at qualifying before the rain began but was not content with his car's handling.

"I actually saw some raindrops, but I told myself, 'No, that's dry,'" Castroneves said. "It's one of those situations where you don't want to be thinking anything bad, especially when it's so tough to stay flat around here."

Last year's inaugural IndyCar race at the 7/8-mile oval was a crash-filled affair, and Dixon suspects that this weekend could see more of the same.

"I don't think much of that is going to change, but hopefully it does," Dixon said. "There are a lot of competent drivers out there. Last year it was easy to get frustrated because you couldn't get a run on anybody. This year, the track is a little older and has a little less grip.

"It's going to be tough for people to stay flat all the way around the place for a 65 or 70-lap stint, so it's going to be easier to pass people. But then when you add another 10 cars to what we had here last year, and you're going to have some impatient people."

But Castroneves feels the race will be markedly better than last year.

"It's hard to go flat here compared with last year," he said. "We can, but it's tougher. I do feel tomorrow is going to be a good show."

He believes he will definitely have a competitive package for the race.

"All the practice we did yesterday and today, from my perspective, was good for my car," Castroneves said. "Under these conditions, we know what to do. Both Penske cars are fast."

Practice pace-setters Ryan Briscoe (Penske) and Hideki Mutoh (Andretti Green) will take the start from fifth and seventh respectively, split by AGR's Danica Patrick.

With Bruno Junqueira's Dale Coyne Racing entry and Marty Roth's car having both severely damaged in morning practice crashes, 24 drivers are now set to compete on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm okay, but unfortunately the car's not okay," Junqueira said. "It's very damaged. The left rear wishbone broke, which is what made me spin. Hopefully we can get everything together for Richmond."

Provisional starting order:

Pos Driver Team 1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 2. Helio Castroneves Penske 3. Dan Wheldon Ganassi 4. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 5. Ryan Briscoe Penske 6. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 7. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 8. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 9. Ed Carpenter Vision 10. Oriol Servia KV 11. Will Power KV 12. Vitor Meira Panther 13. EJ Viso HVM 14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 15. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 16. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 17. Enrique Bernoldi Conquest 18. AJ Foyt IV Vision 19. Darren Manning Foyt 20. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 21. Jaime Camara Conquest 22. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 23. John Andretti Roth 24. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 

shares
comments
Briscoe quickest in second practice

Previous article

Briscoe quickest in second practice

Next article

Wheldon uses pit gamble to win Iowa

Wheldon uses pit gamble to win Iowa
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon
Author Jeff Olson
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021
The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete Plus

The McLaren that rendered its Indy rivals obsolete

When founder Bruce McLaren died in June 1970, his team could have folded. Instead, his loyal band rallied to produce a string of winners - including an Indycar game-changer that won its third Indianapolis 500 five years after its debut

IndyCar
Dec 22, 2020
Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough Plus

Why Newgarden's best IndyCar season yet wasn't enough

Josef Newgarden feels he didn't put a foot wrong in 2020, yet his finest season-long run of performances failed to yield a third series championship. But in a warning shot to Scott Dixon, Team Penske's team leader has vowed to redouble his efforts in 2021

IndyCar
Dec 21, 2020
How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season Plus

How Dixon held on in IndyCar's most unpredictable season

Three wins on the trot gave the Chip Ganassi Racing superstar the cushion he needed to hang on for a sixth title in the face of Josef Newgarden's late challenge. Here's the rundown of a typically frantic IndyCar campaign in an extraordinary year

IndyCar
Nov 28, 2020
The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy Plus

The balancing act required for improving racing at Indy

Calls for an improvement in the racing spectacle at the Indianapolis 500 have been met with small aerodynamic tweaks from IndyCar on superspeedways. But where such high speeds are involved, even minor adjustments require significant planning

IndyCar
Oct 31, 2020