After Graham Rahal referred yesterday to rumors that the IZOD IndyCar Series may not return to Iowa Speedway next season, Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar parent company Hulman & Co., has revealed that he is working on a multi-year agreement with track officials to keep North America’s top open-wheel series racing at the Midwest short oval.
According to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, Miles said that he expects to see the Iowa Corn Indy 250 remain around its current position on the schedule, although a date for 2014 has not yet been finalized. The series has raced at Iowa since the 2007 season.
Rahal caused a bit of a stir during Saturday’s sessions with his comments, which came as he talked about the hope of a strong crowd for today’s 250-lap race.
“There’s a lot of rumors we won’t be coming back here and I hope that’s not true,” the driver of the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda told the Associated Press. “I mean, it’s a fun place to go race.”
When asked about Rahal’s comments, Miles said: “I doubt if [Rahal] meant to be setting policy.” The AP also reports that Miles called Iowa a “cornerstone” of the IndyCar schedule.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.