Iowa Speedway's oval grueling for weary IndyCar teams

  • Article by: LUKE MEREDITH , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 22, 2013 - 5:25 PM

NEWTON, Iowa — For the most part, IndyCar drivers enjoy racing at Iowa Speedway.

That doesn't mean Sunday's race is going to be easy.

The temperatures expected to reach the low 90s by the time the green flag drops. It's also the last of five straight races without a break, and few tracks in the IndyCar Series are as physically demanding as Iowa's steep-banked, .875-mile oval.

Though Iowa's "bullring" setup is great for the fans, it's easy to see why many drivers think the smallest oval on the IndyCar circuit is also the most draining one this season.

"It's probably the toughest (track), especially after five weeks. It is what it is. That's why we prepare ourselves for that," Tony Kanaan said. "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."

Iowa isn't exact the ideal place for a weary race team.

It's so small that drivers are turning four times about every 17 seconds — at speeds of up to 185 mph. That, combined with some of the steepest banking in IndyCar and the lack of a true straightaway, puts tremendous physical pressure on the drivers.

Brad Goldberg, an engineer for the No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Charlie Kimball, said that at Iowa the G-force is roughly five times a driver's body weight laterally and twice that vertically at its peak.

Even though the banking at Texas is steeper than at Iowa, at least that 1.5-mile oval offers a pair of straightaways that give drivers a chance to catch their breath.

"If you're a 200-pound guy, you'd basically have 400 pounds you're trying to squat and 1,000 pounds you're trying to hold yourself up against. If you can imagine trying to do that at the same time in a weight room, that's what they feel twice a lap," Goldberg said.

The cold winters and hot summers have also added character to the track since its first IndyCar race in 2007, with a significant bump in the second turn and warping in the final one.

Those imperfections can make a driver momentarily lose and then regain control as though they're driving in a snowstorm 500 times in a 250-lap race.

Of course, snow is the last thing drivers will need to worry about on a weekend when the track temperature will likely hit 120 degrees.

Such oppressive heat can cause dehydration, which can lead to a lack of focus on a track that demands constant concentration.

Still, focus can be elusive for teams that haven't had a real break since the end of April — by far the longest such stretch of the year.

"It's not so much as just drivers, but the poor guys working on the car. They don't have days off," Goldberg said. "When we're back at the shop, we're not just sitting by the pool drinking margaritas."

But even with all the challenges Iowa presents, most drivers say that Iowa is among the more fun tracks they'll visit all year.

Iowa is reminiscent of the popular short tracks that dot the Midwest, and along with Milwaukee is the only oval of a mile or less left on the series.

"It's a fun place to race," Graham Rahal said. "It is a great place to go. You can get two lanes developed here. It makes it enjoyable, puts on a good show."

"It's a fun place to race," Graham Rahal said. "It is a great place to go. You can get two lanes developed here. It makes it enjoyable, puts on a good show."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Houston
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Colorado 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Carolina
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Montreal
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Canisius
Temple 6:00 PM
Delaware
FIU 6:00 PM
Long Island
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Richmond
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
South Florida
Ga Southern 6:00 PM
Stetson
Yale 6:00 PM
Vermont
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Virginia
Wright State 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Louisiana Tech
Morgan State 6:30 PM
Rider
Idaho State 6:30 PM
South Dakota St
Oakland City 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Eureka 7:00 PM
Bradley
Appalachian St 7:00 PM
Charlotte
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Duke
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Coastal Carolina 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Montana State 7:30 PM
South Dakota
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 65 2nd Half 2:01
Marquette 74
Temple 4:00 PM
Howard
Southern Miss 4:00 PM
Ole Miss
UMBC 4:00 PM
Rider
Miami-Florida 5:00 PM
UCLA
St Mary-KS 5:00 PM
South Dakota
William & Mary 5:00 PM
Wofford
Troy 5:30 PM
Evansville
Loyola Marymount 6:00 PM
USC
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
Indiana-Southeast 6:00 PM
IUPUI
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Tenn Temple 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
West Virginia St 6:00 PM
Radford
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Ball State 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Trine 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Tenn Tech 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Samford 7:00 PM
Tulane
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Ark-Little Rock 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
CS-Northridge 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close