Newton, Iowa may be the most remote location on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, but the intensity of the 7/8-mile tri-oval poses a similar challenge to that of an aircraft war.
“Iowa is one of the coolest places we get to race in IndyCar because it’s almost like a fighter jet arena,” sophomore driver Josef Newgarden said. “It’s like putting a bunch of jet fighters in a little room and having them spin around. I think it shows off the performance of IndyCars really well.”
Iowa Speedway is the shortest track on the IndyCar schedule, and with 24 competitors fighting for victory, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 can be an especially challenging combat.
“Iowa is a very physical place to drive,” Newgarden said. “There’s no stop in your wheel and you’re always turning which makes it very difficult to get through an entire race.”
The 22-year-old driver for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) was unable to complete the 250-lap battle around Iowa Speedway in his rookie season after spinning out and hitting the wall in Turn 2 deep into the race.
“I think there’s been a big oval progression with myself in understanding how to manage the race and the stints on an oval,” Newgarden reflected. “Everyone at SFHR has been working as hard as they can to make sure we maximize each stint on an oval, which is really important. I’ve also learned how to maximize each different set of tires.”
A jet fighter brawl would not be complete without an audience, and according to Newgarden, Iowa brings one of the most incredible crowds on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.
“Iowa is one of the best places we go for fans,” Newgarden said. “They come out every year, they’re super enthusiastic about IndyCar and they always pack the place for race day. The race isn’t in a high population area and it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, but there’s always awesome down-to-earth people who love racing, and they are some of the best fans we have.”
Tune into ABC to watch the green flag drop on the IndyCar jet arena at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 23. Qualifying heat races will be broadcast on indycar.com on Saturday, June 22, beginning at 6:45 p.m. ET. For all of the latest team updates, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram.