The Iowa INDYCAR 250s will present special challenges for both the drivers and teams this weekend as this is the first time in Iowa Speedway history that the track will host two 250-mile NTT INDYCAR SERIES races on the same weekend. Charlie Kimball is on the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet while Tony Kanaan returns to the cockpit of the No. 14 Chevrolet as his Last Lap Tour continues this season. The drivers address the mental and physical challenges of this weekend.
TONY KANAAN ON:
Iowa Speedway: “Iowa has always been a good track for me so I’m pretty excited about it. At Texas we started off with a pretty good result so I’m looking forward to it especially being a doubleheader so hopefully we’ll have a better result than Texas which was already good.”
What he likes about the track: “It’s a short oval, it’s really my style, you have to be aggressive, you have to really drive the car there and I think that suits my style quite a bit. It’s where the driver will make a difference sometimes. On some of the ovals, when you have a good car, it’s really easy to drive the track. At Iowa, you’ve got say, well, I’ve got to risk a little bit more here or a bit more there and it makes a big difference. Knowing where you are going, how to approach the tight corners, it is such a short oval that you have you understand the track. Some guys have a better understanding than others.”
Is that what makes it tricky to drive? “Yes, one hundred percent. There is a particular way of driving that obviously I’m not going to get into the details but it makes a big difference.
Doubleheader: how tough? “It will be really tough. That’s why I train so much.
I‘m looking forward to that. I like tough.”
Tougher physically or mentally: “Both. This one we’re gonna have both. Detroit when it was a doubleheader, it was more physically tough. Now at Iowa we’re getting both. Which we thought it couldn’t get worse, well we got it.”
Tuning the car during a short practice: “It’s going to be difficult, it will be a challenge for all of us. It’s a different car. When I got to Texas I actually got caught by surprise. I said Whoa, this is not the car I’ve been driving for a long time. Obviously, it didn’t help that I was out of the car for eight months. But it’s going to take a little bit of time to adjust which with the current situation, we don’t have.”
Expectations: “My expectations are extremely high. When we made the changes that we made this year in the team, I’m expecting us to be in the top-ten. We had a car to finish in the top-ten and maybe in the top-five in Texas. That’s where we need to be. Once you put yourself in that position, then the win might come because you never know what could happen in the front. To be able to win, you’ve got to put yourself there first. And I think now we are on the ovals. Realistically, it’s a top-ten and if we have a really good day, it will be a top-five. Expectation is one thing, now we have to make it happen.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL ON:
Iowa INDYCAR 250s: “Short track racing especially under the lights both Friday and Saturday nights is a place where INDYCAR shines. I’m excited to get there with the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team; we’ve made progress all year long. Every single race we’ve seemed to have gone forward. We were strong on the oval at Texas and I‘m looking forward to continuing to work forward from where we finished at Texas and do better.”
Oval car setup and Tony Kanaan back as a teammate: “Texas showed that the oval car has a really solid foundation and we’ll continue to make it better. I think we learned some things in Texas with both the 4 and 14, and it’ll be nice to have Tony back in the engineering office, back in the drivers’ lounge as a teammate again. He brings a lot of color to the race truck, a lot of character and a lot of experience. I’ve maybe not gotten the results at Iowa as I have at other tracks, so I look forward to learning and improving based on his experience.”
Challenges of Iowa Speedway: “Physically and mentally, Iowa’s really tough. It’s
bumpy, it’s probably going to be hot; the aeroscreen means we don’t get as much cooling in the cockpit. The fact that it is still a 250-lap race Friday night and then another 250-lap race Saturday night is going to be really challenging. The way the track has worn over the years, the lanes and how you race evolves throughout the course of the race throughout the night. Trying to keep up with the track as a driver is one of the added challenges as you get more and more fatigued.”
On team’s progress: “Personally, I think we’ve got a really good relationship and foundation within the team. The engineering office is really working well together, the drivers are working well with the engineers, whether it’s Tony or Dalton. At COTA, it was Sebastien doing a great job and at Sebring. As we’ve gone into these first four races, that dialog and relationship has only improved and in big chunks. I think that’s shown as we continue to make progress with the car each weekend. We had a good car at Texas and had a good race there. We got served some humble pie at the Indy Grand Prix. We continue to make the car better, nearly getting a top-ten in the first race at Road America and then getting that top-ten in the second race there.”
New Qualifying Procedure for Doubleheader: Each Car’s qualifications attempt will consist of two (2) timed laps:
A.J. Foyt will not be at the race this weekend. He plans to be at the Indianapolis 500 in August.
Last races: Charlie Kimball started 22nd and finished 11th in the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet in Race 1 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America. In Race 2, Kimball qualified 13th and finished 10th for his first Top-10 of the season. Rookie Dalton Kellett started 23rd and finished 20th in both races at Road America in the No. 14 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.
Past Performance at Iowa Speedway: Charlie Kimball’s best start at Iowa Speedway is fifth in 2016 and his best finish is 10th (2014, 2016). In 13 starts, Tony Kanaan’s best start is second (2014-2015) and he won in 2010. He has four Top-5s plus three more Top-10s. The team’s best start is 13th (Takuma Sato: 2106 and Tony Kanaan: 2018-2019). The team’s best finish is fifth with Darren Manning in 2007.
The Iowa INDYCAR 250s will be broadcast Friday and Saturday nights on NBCSN starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. The races are broadcast live on the INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR mobile app. Qualifying is available on Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com, and the INDYCAR mobile app.