NEWTON, Iowa – IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves was the fastest driver in Saturday’s single-lap qualifications, but all that guarantees him is the pole position for Saturday night’s third Heat Race at Iowa Speedway.
Castroneves, who won the pole with a fast lap of 185.687 miles per hour in a Dallara/Chevrolet Saturday afternoon, still has to finish first in the third 50-lap Heat Race later Saturday night to start on the pole for Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250.
“You aren’t thinking about one lap or two laps; you are thinking about 50 laps with a lot of traffic so there is a lot to consider,” Castroneves said. “There are championship points, though, so you have to keep going. It’s different. I like the fact they are trying something new. But right now I have no opinion; I just have to go and drive it to find out.
“You can learn from watching the other guys running in the first two heats. I wish we didn’t have a race right now because I’m on pole so I have to finish in the same position afterwards.”
Marco Andretti, the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 winner, was second at 184.766 mph in a Dallara/Chevrolet followed by Team Penske’s Will Power’s 184.240 mph, Tony Kanaan’s 183.713 mph and James Hinchcliffe’s 183.236 mph to round out the top five. Oriol Servia of Panther Racing rounded out the six drivers who will comprise the field of the final Heat Race. Four more drivers will be added to that heat, as the top two drivers in the first two Heat Races will advance into Heat Race No. 3.
Counting Ed Carpenter, the top seven positions were drivers using Chevrolet engines. Scott Dixon was the highest Honda driver in eighth at 182.506 mph.
The format for heat race qualifications also will reward 12 starters with points – from nine points for the pole winner and descending by one point each position to one point for 11th and 12th.