Castroneves fastest in IndyCar’s Iowa single-lap qualifying

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One part of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ abnormal – or convoluted, depending on who you ask – qualifying format for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB is in the books.

The series ran one-lap qualifying to set the grid for tonight’s three heat races (live streamed online on IndyCar.com and the Verizon IndyCar 13 app at 6:45 p.m. ET). The top six qualifiers automatically advanced to heat race three, with even qualifiers 8-24 lining up for race one and odd qualifiers 7-23 lining up for heat race two.

From there, the top two finishers in each heat race advance to heat race number three, and the rest of the grid outside the top 10 in the final heat is assembled by results from the first two heats.

So now that that gets the formula for how the grid is set out of the way, here’s the who breakdown from single-lap qualifying.

Texas winner Helio Castroneves set a new single-lap record at Iowa Speedway of 185.687 and will have the pole for the final heat race.

The rest of the top six automatically advancing include: Marco Andretti, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia. Servia returns to Panther Racing for the first time since Texas.

Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon are on pole, then, for the two preliminary heat races. Dario Franchitti (20th) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (22nd) were among those with poor qualifying laps; Ana Beatriz did not set a time.

ONE-LAP QUALIFYING SPEEDS, AND HEAT RACE GRID SPOTS:
1.  3 Helio Castroneves, 185.687 (First, Heat 3)
2.  25 Marco Andretti, 184.766 (Second, Heat 3)
3.  12 Will Power, 184.240 (Third, Heat 3)
4.  11 Tony Kanaan, 183.713 (Fourth, Heat 3)
5.  27 James Hinchcliffe, 183.236 (Fifth, Heat 3)
6.  4 Oriol Servia, 183.021 (Sixth, Heat 3)
7.  20 Ed Carpenter, 182.805 (First, Heat 2)
8.  9 Scott Dixon, 182.506 (First, Heat 1)
9.  55 Tristan Vautier (R), 182.472 (Second, Heat 2)
10. 14 Takuma Sato, 182.384 (Second, Heat 1)
11. 83 Charlie Kimball, 182.270 (Third, Heat 2)
12. 67 Josef Newgarden, 182.142 (Third, Heat 1)
13. 16 James Jakes, 182.056 (Fourth, Heat 2)
14. 98 Alex Tagliani, 181.963 (Fourth, Heat 1)
15. 5 E.J. Viso, 181.458 (Fifth, Heat 2)
16. 7 Sebastien Bourdais, 180.892 (Fifth, Heat 1)
17. 77 Simon Pagenaud, 180.481 (Sixth, Heat 2)
18. 6 Sebastian Saavedra, 180.016 (Sixth, Heat 1)
19. 15 Graham Rahal, 179.295 (Seventh, Heat 2)
20. 10 Dario Franchitti, 178.578 (Seventh, Heat 1)
21. 19 Justin Wilson, 178.240 (Eighth, Heat 2)
22. 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay, 177.957 (Eighth, Heat 1)
23. 78 Simona de Silvestro, 174.689 (Ninth, Heat 2)
24. 18 Ana Beatriz, No speed (Ninth, Heat 1)

Roger Penske discusses flying tire at Indy 500 with Dallara executives: ‘We’ve got to fix that’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Roger Penske spoke with Dallara executives Monday morning about the loose tire that went flying over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway catchfence and into a Turn 2 parking lot.

The left-rear wheel from Kyle Kirkwood’s No. 27 Dallara-Honda was sheared off in a collision at speed as Kirkwood tried to avoid the skidding No. 6 Dallara-Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist on Lap 183 of the 107th Indianapolis 500.

No one seriously was hurt in the incident (including Kirkwood, whose car went upside down and slid for several hundred feet), though an Indianapolis woman’s Chevy Cruze was struck by the tire. The Indy Star reported a fan was seen and released from the care center after sustaining minor injuries from flying debris in the crash.

During a photo shoot Monday morning with Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden at the IMS Yard of Bricks, Penske met with Dallara founder and owner Gian Paolo Dallara and Dallara USA CEO Stefano dePonti. The Italian company has been the exclusive supplier of the current DW12 chassis to the NTT IndyCar series for 11 years.

“The good news is we didn’t have real trouble with that tire going out (of the track),” Penske, who bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2020, told a few reporters shortly afterward. “I saw it hit. When it went out, I saw we were OK. I talked to the Dallara guys today. We’re going to look at that, but I guess the shear (force) from when (Rosenqvist’s) car was sitting, (Kirkwood’s car) went over and just that shear force tore that tether. Because we have tethers on there, and I’ve never seen a wheel come off.

“That to me was probably the scariest thing. We’ve got to fix that. We’ve got to fix that so that doesn’t happen again.”

Asked by NBC Sports if IndyCar would be able to address it before Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix or before the next oval race at Iowa Speedway, Penske said, “The technical guys should look at it. I think the speed here, a couple of hundred (mph) when you hit it vs. 80 or 90 or whatever it might be, but that was a pinch point on the race.”

In a statement released Monday to WTHR and other media outlets, IndyCar said that it was “in possession of the tire in Sunday’s incident and found that the tether did not fail. This is an isolated incident, and the series is reviewing to make sure it does not happen again. IndyCar takes the safety of the drivers and fans very seriously. We are pleased and thankful that no one was hurt.”

IndyCar provided no further explanation for how the wheel was separated from the car without the tether failing.

IndyCar began mandating wheel suspension tethers using high-performance Zylon material after a flying tire killed three fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a May 1, 1999 race. Three fans also were struck and killed by a tire at Michigan International Speedway during a July 26, 1998 race.

The IndyCar tethers can withstand a force of more than 22,000 pounds, and the rear wheel tethers were strengthened before the 2023 season.