With today’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, check local listings), drivers and teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series will have raced six times in the last five weekends – and that’s not counting the additional efforts put into preparations for the Indianapolis 500 that began the grueling stretch on Memorial Day weekend.
They’ve raced on Indy’s 2.5-mile oval, followed that up with a pair of races on a demanding street circuit at Belle Isle, and then tackled the 1.5-mile oval at Texas and the Milwaukee Mile – two speedways that couldn’t be any more different from one another. Now, the 7/8-mile, high-banked bullring at Iowa awaits them this afternoon, and at a time where everyone’s looking for a breather somewhere, IndyCar’s shortest oval will afford them none.
“It’s probably the toughest [track], especially after five weeks,” Indy 500 champion Tony Kanaan (pictured) said to the Associated Press. “It is what it is. That’s why we prepare ourselves for that. Myself physically, I tried to be ready because I knew it was going to be a long stretch. But you can tell. Everybody’s getting tired.”
The good news is that after 250 white-knuckle laps this afternoon in Iowa, the paddock will get a much-needed weekend off before July begins with events on back-to-back weekends at Pocono Raceway (July 7) and the doubleheader at Toronto (July 13-14).
The bad news is that Iowa’s frenetic and physical nature is bound to put even more pressure on drivers and team members that have likely become heavily fatigued.
“It’s not so much as just drivers, but the poor guys working on the car – they don’t have days off,” Chip Ganassi Racing engineer Brad Goldberg told the AP. “When we’re back at the shop, we’re not just sitting by the pool drinking margaritas.”
The weather could also prove problematic for the teams, as temperatures are expected to get into the lower 90s according to Des Moines’ NBC affiliate, WHO-TV.