Race Report: Iowa Corn 300
NEWTON, Iowa July 18, 2015–The Iowa Corn 300 provided another exciting wheel-to-wheel battle in the Verizon IndyCar Series. There were 15 lead changes among 10 drivers.
Although the ABC Supply team was not in the thick of the battle for most of the night, Jack Hawksworth came from nearly last to lead seven laps in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda.
Although varying pit strategies played into those circumstances, Hawksworth did find himself racing with the leaders before he became the leader at the 250-mile mark. He lost the lead when he pitted on lap 257 under green. Despite his efficient pit stop he fell to 12th and went a lap down. His car didn’t handle quite as well in the final stint and he slipped to 13th at the end.
“Well it was a fun race, we had a lot of battling out there,” said Hawksworth. “We had a pretty strong race going and we were hovering around the top 10. Then at the end we had to go to the tires from qualifying which were a little bit older than we liked. I also think we missed the tire pressures at the end because the car was moving around a bit and we fell back a couple positions. Not where we want to be, but happy to get a few points on the board.”
Takuma Sato had struggled for most of the race. In his final stint, he felt the car had come into its own only to have a failure in the brand new right front suspension which sent him into the Turn 2 wall. Sato was fortunate to escape injury, but his car sustained extensive damage. He was credited with 19th place.
It is believed to be the second suspension failure of the night. The brand new beefier suspensions were mandated for this race because officials were concerned that the track’s high banking would generate excessive forces on the cars’ suspensions. Apparently they were right.
“Tough night,” said Sato, who started 15th. “To predict the conditions is almost impossible because we never had a night session in practice. We started the race in warm conditions this evening and finished off in cool conditions so from that point of view it’s difficult to determine the amount of downforce you need. We thought we optimized the car but I think we needed a little more downforce to be fast tonight. It was an exciting race, lots of side by side racing. For a couple stints we couldn’t manage tire pressure well. It was very sensitive which was surprising. Some stints I struggled but on the very last stint, the car came together and we were making good time but unfortunately there was a right front suspension failure. There was no warning, the car bottomed out and I was just a passenger. It was a shame.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race. He was followed across the line by Josef Newgarden, Sage Karam, Graham Rahal and Carlos Munoz.
The next race on August 2nd at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be Sato’s 100th start in the IndyCar Series. The race will be broadcast live by CNBC starting at 1:30 p.m.