NEWTON, Iowa —These are the races that try men’s souls.
From the start of the weekend, A.J. Foyt’s team was struggling at Iowa Speedway, the superfast 7/8-mile banked bullring of a track that brings out the best and worst in teams – sometimes at the same time.
Their struggle was exacerbated by having only an hour long practice before qualifying for the Iowa Corn 300 yesterday. Still the team appeared to make some progress with their ABC Supply Chevrolets as Tony Kanaan qualified 13th, running his fastest lap of the day in qualifying. Matheus Leist ran conservatively after crashing in practice when the car bobbled out of Turn 2 and spun, making contact with the wall. Leist would start 22nd. In the final practice session, Kanaan had improved to run ninth quickest and Leist ran 13th quickest giving the team hope for race day.
Race day conditions were quite a bit hotter than final practice, which, although taken into account, the hot and slippery track did play havoc with the cars’ setup. It was the most difficult race of the season for the entire team which has been working constantly since April with nary a day off between races and testing.
“It isn’t for a lack of effort,” said Eric Cowdin, the team’s technical director, noting the hard work and long hours being put in by the engineers, mechanics and drivers.
In the race, it appeared that both drivers were going to be in for a long day but as it turned out, Leist was told to park it after 40 laps.