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Aleshin Heads Honda Field in Iowa Qualifying

  • Disappointing day for Honda teams and drivers
  • Honda seeking third consecutive Iowa victory
  • Final short-oval race of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series on Sunday

A tough day for Honda drivers and teams Saturday at Iowa Speedway saw Mikhail Aleshin lead the way for the manufacturer, qualifying ninth on the short, nine-tenths of a mile oval for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300.

Aleshin and Graham Rahal were the only Honda drivers to break into the top 12 in single-car qualifying on a warm and sunny afternoon at the tight, high-banked Iowa Speedway oval. A.J. Foyt Racing teammates Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth qualified 13th and 14th, respectively. Ryan Hunter-Reay, seeking this third consecutive Honda-powered Iowa Speedway victory, will start 20th. His previous Iowa victories came after starting 13th [in 2014] and after running 12th in Friday practice last year.

Sunday night’s 300-lap event, the second and final short-oval race of 2016, starts at 5 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Mikhail Aleshin (#7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) qualified 9th: “I think we had a decent qualifying run and I’m happy to be the fastest Honda. Top ten is a good position to start tomorrow in the SMP Racing car and the race is very long. It’s going to be very difficult and it’s hard to say what to expect but I think we’ll be okay.”