Wednesday, August 17, 2022

2022 IndyCar at Iowa: How to watch, stream, preview, teams to watch in the Hy-Vee Race Weekend

From above, Iowa Speedway looks a bit like Richmond Raceway: A D-shaped little oval. Rusty Wallace, whose driving experience and school call the track at Newton, Iowa home, had a hand in laying things out, and as he always enjoyed racing at Richmond (where he had a lot of success), Wallace based Iowa Speedway on it.

Richmond, a .75-mile oval, is actually smaller than Iowa (.825 miles). Baking down Iowa’s front straight is 10 degrees (at Richmond it is 8), and in the turns varies from 12 degrees to 14 and back to 12 (at Richmond it is a constant 14), while the backstretch is a relatively flat 4 degrees (and an even flatter 2 degrees at Richmond).

Fans have Bobby Rahal to thank for IndyCar’s return to Newton, as the track was dropped from the 2021 calendar for lack of sponsorship. Rahal was able to convince Hy-Vee to step in, and the result is the only “double-header” on the IndyCar calendar, with qualifying and racing on Saturday and a second race on Sunday.

How to watch the Hy-Vee IndyCar Race Weekend

  • Dates: Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 34
  • Location: Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa 
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday); 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)
  • TV: NBC (both days)
  • Stream: fuboTV (try for free

What to watch for

The first wrinkle in the weekend comes Saturday, as drivers will turn two laps in qualifying each. The first counts toward their spot in Saturday’s Hy-VeeDeals.com 250 and the second lap qualifies them for Sunday’s Hy-VeeDeals Salute to Farmers 300.

Temperatures are going to be in the high-90s (Fahrenheit) on Saturday and low-to-mid 80s on Sunday, and the track’s actual temperature will likely be about 20 degrees higher than ambient, or more. That will lead to the softer compound tires breaking down far quicker. In the 2019 race, the Firestone soft “reds” went off after only one or two laps, so tire wear will be a big factor on the weekend.

On the back foot

Team Penske: Usually, if we say that a three-car team had all their drivers finish in the top 15 — two of them eighth and ninth — we would say that’s “running in place,” if not even “best foot forward.” But this is the team that has dominated road and street courses this season, having won five of the eight road/street course events run. Simply put, we hold Team Penske to a higher standard. And we expect them to regain their mojo at the Iowa races, where they have three wins in the past six races.

Running in place

Arrow McLaren SP:  Felix Rosenqvist drove a brilliant race at Toronto, earning his first podium with Arrow McLaren SP at a moment in the season when the Swede needs every good finish he can muster to stay with the IndyCar team. However, it is Pato O’Ward’s struggles at Toronto that earns them the drop, and while he did finish 11th at Toronto, he started 15th and looked lost for most of the weekend.

Dale Coyne Racing: David Malukas looked set to have a top-10 finish, maybe even a top five, after qualifying fifth at Toronto. Instead it seemed as if the race just got away from him and the team from the get-to and he finished 12th. That is what pulls the team up a category, as Takuma Sato failed to complete a single lap with a shunt practically at the start.

Meyer Shank Racing: Simon Pagenaud finished seventh after it looked like he had a car that could challenge for a top three, and that finish was hard fought for through driving and strategy as he started 18th after botching qualifying. Helio Castroneves finished where he started, in 17th, and just never seemed to get into a rhythm. Iowa will be a welcome sight.

Best foot forward

Andretti Autosport: After all the shenanigans at Mid-Ohio, Toronto was a much-needed course correction for the AA flyers with Colton Herta driving a heady race to finish second. Alexander Rossi likely would have been right there with him had it not been for a racing incident with Rosenqvist that Rossi was diplomatic about in the end (seeing as he is moving to McLaren next season).

Chip Ganassi Racing: There is no better way to clear the clouds of controversy over driver contracts than winning, and Scott Dixon was just the guy to get that done for Chip Ganassi. Even Alex Palou, who looked lost for the weekend and started the race in 22nd, somehow managed to drive to a sixth-place finish, with championship leader Marcus Ericsson a spot ahead in fifth.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan: This was the team many expected to see at the start of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Graham Rahal. The second-generation IndyCar driver said he would need “a lot of luck” to win starting 14th, and he nearly got all he needed in finishing just off the podium in fourth. Quietly, Christian Lundgaard put together a drive to eighth, Jack Harvey disappointing a bit in 19th. Will the speed they found on the streets of Toronto translate to a short speedway in Iowa? Tune in Saturday.

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