Eric Cowdin is the Technical Director of AJ Foyt Racing and serves as Tony Kanaan’s race engineer on the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Following are his thoughts as we head to Iowa Speedway, a banked 7/8-mile oval in Newton, 30 miles east of Des Moines.
ERIC COWDIN ON:
Testing at Iowa Speedway: “We were able to get basic setup information from Matheus running at the test. The 2018 aero package has a lot less downforce so gearing and mechanical setup will be very important.”
How the car will handle in traffic (similar to Phoenix?): “We didn’t have an opportunity to run in traffic at the test. I would hope that the nature of the Iowa Speedway would provide more passing opportunities than Phoenix.”
The biggest challenge with this new car on a track like Iowa Speedway: “The biggest challenge is the lower downforce level for this year. The downforce in the past had created a much higher grip level but a slower top speed. Now the cars have much quicker speed into the corner and a slower mid-corner speed with less grip.”
How much simulator testing shortens the learning curve: “We have primarily used the simulator for road and street course preparation. In general it has helped us be much closer on ride heights, gearing and general setup when we first show up at a race track.”
What is more challenging at Iowa Speedway—the banking or the bumps: “The bumps are the biggest challenge. You