What to Watch For: IndyCar at Iowa (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Photo: IndyCar

NEWTON, Iowa – The 300-lap Iowa Corn 300 is set to kick off shortly (5 p.m. ET, NBCN), with the race back to a day race after its usual stint at night.


Here’s what to watch for ahead of the tenth race of the season, which is labeled as Round 11 owing to the postponed Texas race being moved to August 27.


Again, with the race change back to daylight, the big question is temperatures on Sunday – and how hot it might be.

Ambient temperatures may range anywhere from the mid-to-high 80s, with track temperatures bordering on 115 to 120 degrees, following this morning’s rainfall that has washed all past rubber off the track.

The green track changes the conditions a bit, but it still should be hot and slippery. As double practice pacesetter Tony Kanaan identified, the addition of ARCA’s General Tire (Continental subsidiary) only made the low line worse.

“It’s actually worse now because ARCA ran a lot. I’m comfortable both lines but it will still be pretty tough,” said the driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.


Kanaan also described how the bumps in Turn 3 and 4 and how unsettling they are.

“It’s lot bumpier in 3 and 4. With old tires, you have the tendency to slide a lot more. And it’s bumpy. So a lot will try to run the high line. For those who can run the low line longer, it might be a big advantage.”


Firestone has brought an updated left side compound compared to what was run at the 99th Indianapolis 500 in 2015, while the right sides are the same compound and construction as at Texas.

Figure this will be a four-stop race and as tires fall off, the field will separate itself.


Those drivers that can run the high line consistently won’t burn their right side tires off as fast. The low line will be quicker, but only works in short spurts.

The nice thing about Iowa is that it’s a two-groove racetrack and passing should be significantly easier than it was at the only other short oval this year at Phoenix.


In practice Kanaan, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud were the three top cars in the field. Kanaan starts sixth while the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet and No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet start alongside each other on the front row.

Beyond those three, drivers to watch include Ganassi’s younger pair of Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball, who hope their race pace is on par with their qualifying spots of fourth and fifth, then the three other Team Penske entries of Helio Castroneves (starts third), Will Power (eighth) and Juan Pablo Montoya (11th). Power goes for his third straight win on Sunday, while Team Penske looks to break its Iowa duck, having gone winless in the land of corn.


With 17-seconds and change laps, you bank three per minute – and invariably, if your car is off the pace, you’re in for a long afternoon.

Surviving, staying on the lead lap and getting through traffic will be key.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”