Two Friday practice sessions will play integral roles in setting the starting grid for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
As announced by IndyCar in mid-February, three heat races of 30 laps each will replace single-car qualifications for the June 23 race under the lights on the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval. Groups for qualifications will be determined by combined practice session times.
Race 1 will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time overall, and determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.
Race 2 will consist of the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth-quickest practice time overall, and determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field from ninth down.
Race 3 will consist of drivers ranked one through eight by combined practice times. Results of Race 3 will determine the top-eight starting positions, with the winner taking the pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
The new Iowa oval qualifying procedure is intended to complement the three rounds of qualifications held on road/street courses, culminating in the Firestone Fast Six. IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield said the qualifying procedure was introduced for this event only as an experiment in an effort to add excitement to oval-track qualifying.
"The build-up we presently have for the Firestone Fast Six has that excitement and we wanted to do something similar for the oval events," Barfield said. "It's going back to the heritage of short-track races."
Double-file restarts also will be utilized at Iowa.
"We've had a lot of firsts at Iowa Speedway with IndyCar and the mini-races are another first," said track president Stan Clement. "With the new car and the heat races, fans who attend the Iowa Corn Indy 250 weekend will get racing on both days."