MRTI: Iowa Speedway preview

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda resume action this weekend at Iowa Speedway, the lone short oval on the 2017 calendar for Indy Lights and the only oval period for USF2000.

After completing their fourth double-headers of 2017 at Road America, both series will contest only one race around the .875-mile oval this weekend. Indy Lights will feature a 100-lap affair, dubbed the Mazda Iowa 100, while USF2000’s will be 60 laps, similarly dubbed the Mazda Iowa 60. Both races are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Below are quick previews for both series.

INDY LIGHTS

  • Top 5 in points: 1. Kyle Kaiser, 199, 2. Matheus Leist, 172, 3. Colton Herta, 161, 4. Nico Jamin, 159, T-5. Aaron Telitz, 149, T-5. Neil Alberico, 149.
  • The Indy Lights field increases to 15 drivers this week, with Chad Boat driving an extra entry for Belardi Auto Racing. This is Boat’s first start in Indy Lights, and will be the first of two starts he’ll make in the 2017 season. He will also race at Gateway Motorsports Park on August 26.
  • Seven drivers entered have raced at Iowa Speedway previously in Indy Lights: Santi Urrutia, Shelby Blackstock, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Neil Alberico, Juan Piedrahita, Dalton Kellett, and Kyle Kaiser.  Chad Boat has also raced at Iowa previously, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards, but never in a single-seater.
  • Matheus Leist won the only other oval race this year (the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). Points leader Kyle Kaiser suffered his worst finish of the season (ninth) in the same event, but has previously won on a short oval (Phoenix Raceway, 2016).
  • Recent winners at Iowa Speedway: Félix Serrallés (2016), Max Chilton (2015).

 

USF2000

  • Top five in points: 1. Oliver Askew, 215, Rinus van Kalmthout, 191, 3. Kaylen Frederick, 144, 4. Parker Thompson, 134, 5. Calvin Ming, 112.

    Oliver Askew saw his championship lead dramatically reduced at Road America. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

  • This is the first time USF2000 is competing at Iowa Speedway since 2010. Sage Karam was victorious that year.
  • Points leader Oliver Askew is looking to rebound from a difficult outing at Road America, when loose camber shims on the left-front wheel relegated him to a 17th-place finish in Race 1. While he finished third in Race 2, Rinus van Kalmthout swept the weekend, his first victories in USF2000, and only trails Askew by 24 points heading into the weekend.
  • The field sees a slight drop down to 14 entries. Perhaps most notable among the drivers absent is David Malukas, who won the pole and finished second in Race 1 at Road America.

The USF2000 race will roll off at 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, with Indy Lights slated for 3:00 p.m. ET.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.