Andretti Autosport’s quartet goes for seventh heaven in Iowa

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Among the famous lines from Kevin Costner’s “Field of Dreams” movie is the line where Costner’s dad in the movie ponders, “Is this heaven?” to which Costner replies, “It’s Iowa.”

For Andretti Autosport, the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway has been the team’s personal heaven – it goes for seventh heaven this weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Iowa Corn 300 (Sunday, 5 p.m. ET, NBCSN) after winning each of the last six races here since 2010 (and seven overall, having won the series’ maiden trip in 2007).

The team has already secured the biggest race win of the year with Alexander Rossi’s famous win in the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, but since that point the team has only one podium finish, when Ryan Hunter-Reay came third at the second race in Detroit.

Hunter-Reay is a three-time Iowa Speedway winner (2012, 2014 and 2015) and looks for his third straight, fourth overall win at Iowa. The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda sits 11th in points but is only 29 points behind Scott Dixon, who sits fourth.

“Iowa is certainly one of the highlights on the schedule for our team,” Hunter-Reay said in the team’s advance release. “Great facility, great racing and we have a pretty impressive record to defend.”

Andretti Autosport does still have two drivers in the top 10 in points. Rossi – who has won the series’ most recent completed oval race – sits 10th in points while Carlos Munoz scored the pole at the now-postponed Texas Motor Speedway round and is highest of the quartet in seventh. Thing is, the two drivers are only separated by five points.

Munoz, who was an under-the-radar good fifth place here last year and 12th in 2014, is keen to secure his first oval win an IndyCar in his No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, while Rossi will look for a solid result in his Iowa race debut. He had a small spin in testing but nothing that damaged his No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda beyond minor repairs.

“Iowa has been a great track for Andretti the past couple years. We tested there last week and the track is much different than it was last year, so we will see how competitive we will be this year,” Munoz said.

Rossi added, “We just tested there last week and I have to say that it’s a pretty crazy track and have no doubt it will be very entertaining for the fans.”

We come next to Marco Andretti, in desperate need of any result of note after a challenging season to date.

The driver of the No. 27 Snapple Honda sits 17th in points with only one top-10 result, but he’s traditionally strong at Iowa. The 2011 race winner there has four podium finishes in nine previous starts, and is one of only four drivers who’ve run every Iowa race.

“I really enjoy the Iowa track, and we’ve had success there with six straight wins as a team,” he said. “Our focus is on keeping that streak going this weekend.

“On the 27 side, I need to turn my season around in a big way and hopefully Iowa can be a start for that.”

Past Andretti Autosport winners at Iowa include Dario Franchitti (2007), Tony Kanaan (2010), Andretti (2011), Hunter-Reay (2012, 2014 and 2015) and James Hinchcliffe (2013).

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series triples to 34 races in 2023

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023
Xtreme Outlaw Series

After hosting 10 rounds in 2022, the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series 2023 schedule will more than triple to 34 races. The 2022 season featured seven different winners in the first seven races, a female racer in Jade Avedisian as the only repeat winner and Zach Daum as the champion.

“Dirt Midget racing is a growing entity in American motorsports, and the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota is proud to drive further into the growth of the division with both a diverse and lucrative schedule for 2023,” newly appointed Series Director Tyler Bachman said in a press release. “From the kickoff at our first indoor event, to each of the new tracks we’re set to visit next year, it’s a lineup we know both our teams and fans will enjoy.”

The championship purse fund has also more than double with an increase of $42,000 to $80,000 in 2023. The champion will win $25,000. Last year, Daum pocketed $10,000.

In addition, the series will offer tow money to the top 12 in points. Six drivers attempted to qualify for all 10 races in 2022 with 89 drivers attending.

The series will begin on March 10 at Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. and end the same place it did in 2022 at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City on October 15.

During the season, they will visit 21 tracks in 10 states.

Some highlights of the season include the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series pairing up with the World of Outlaws Sprint Cars in 2023 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. in April for the Outlaw Showdown and again in August for the Ironman 55 weekend, as well as the creation of a five-day Midget Speedweek.

The Midget Speedweek will immediately follow the Ironman 55 with a swing through Pennsylvania and New York.

Xtreme Outlaw Midget 2023 Schedule

Friday, March 10 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Saturday, March 11 | Southern Illinois Center | Du Quoin, Ill.
Friday, March 31 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.

Saturday, April 1 | Farmer City Raceway | Farmer City, Ill.
Friday, April 14 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Saturday, April 15 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.

Friday, May 5 | Humboldt Speedway | Humboldt, Kan.
Saturday, May 6 | 81 Speedway | Park City, Kan.
Tuesday, May 23 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.
Wednesday, May 24 | Millbridge Speedway | Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday, June 1 | Tri-City Speedway | Pontoon Beach, Ill.
Friday, June 2 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.
Saturday, June 3 | Wayne County Speedway | Wayne City, Ill.

Friday, July 21 | TBA
Saturday, July 22 | Southern Illinois Raceway | Marion, Ill.
Friday, July 28 | TBA
Saturday, July 29 | Atomic Speedway | Chillicothe, Ohio
Sunday, July 30 | Brushcreek Motorsports Complex | Peebles, Ohio

Friday, August 4 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Sat, August 5 | Federated AP Raceway at I-55 | Pevely, Mo.
Tuesday, August 8 | Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway | Newmanstown, Pa.
Wednesday, August 9 | Action Track USA | Kutztown, Pa.
Thursday, August 10 | Linda’s Speedway | Jonestown, Pa.
Friday, August 11 | TBA
Saturday, August 12 | Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, N.J.
Friday, August 25 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa
Saturday, August 26 | Davenport Speedway | Davenport, Iowa

Friday, September 1 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Saturday, September 2 | Paragon Speedway | Paragon, Ind.
Friday, September 15 | Jacksonville Speedway | Jacksonville, Ill.
Saturday, September 16 | Red Hill Raceway | Sumner, Ill.

Friday, October 13 | Port City Raceway | Tulsa, Okla.
Saturday, October 14 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sunday, October 15 | I-44 Riverside Speedway | Oklahoma City, Okla.

* Co-sanctioned with POWRi