Race Weekend Central

2020 Iowa IndyCar 250s Race 1 Preview: IndyCar at Iowa Speedway

The 2020 Iowa IndyCar 250s begin on Friday (July 17), less than a week after the NTT IndyCar Series doubleheader at Road America. Iowa is another track affected by the COVID-19 rescheduling shuffle: instead of the usual Iowa Corn 300, now fans get a pair of IndyCar 250s.

That, of course, means additional work for the drivers and teams but also two nights’ worth of points on offer for anyone who can capitalize on the extra event. Much like Road America, a solid performance in Race 1 will set drivers on a path toward overall success—but anything is possible when there’s double the pressure and twice as much to lose.

Look closer at this Friday’s race in our 2020 Iowa IndyCar 250s Race 1 preview.

How to watch: The race airs on NBCSN at 8:30 p.m. ET. Post-race coverage follows at 11:00 p.m. ET also on NBCSN. Fans can also stream live timing and scoring through INDYCAR Race Control.

What happened in 2019: Team Penske controlled the 2019 Iowa Corn 300. Although the race was affected by rain, Simon Pagenaud captured the pole position, while Josef Newgarden had the fastest lap and the most laps led on his way to capturing the checkered flag. It would be Newgarden’s last victory of the 2019 IndyCar season. Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top three; for Hinchcliffe, that was his final podium with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

What to watch for in 2020: Fans who tuned into Road America have a good idea of what to expect when it comes to Iowa. Splitting the Iowa Corn 300 into two events is going to present some of the same challenges in terms of the wear and tear on the cars, but also the drivers and their pit crews, who have made some pretty big mistakes during the first part of the season.

Plus, given Penske’s dominance here in 2019, will this be the track where they get back up to speed? The team has yet to win a race in 2020, and they didn’t look good last Sunday in the Road America finale. So far they haven’t been as competitive as fans are used to seeing, but this is a prime opportunity for someone to change that.

Drivers to watch: First and foremost, all eyes will be on the Chip Ganassi Racing roster, given the fact that CGR has won every race to date. Felix Rosenqvist is all smiles at the moment having earned his first win last weekend, but he will need to show that wasn’t a fluke, especially since he finished 14th his last time at Iowa. Marcus Ericsson was 11th in 2019, and as for Dixon, well, he’s been on the podium two of the last four Iowa races.

Another name on the radar has to be Alexander Rossi. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the Andretti Autosport driver broke his string of bad luck in the second Road America event. But now he needs to start a string of good luck. The Iowa IndyCar 250s will be the time when fans either say that Rossi has put his rough start to the 2020 campaign behind him, or where we’ll realize that Road America was the eye of the storm. Hopefully it’s the former, because Rossi deserves better than what the season has given him so far.

Race 1 of the 2020 Iowa IndyCar 250s takes place Friday, July 17 at Iowa Speedway.

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