Helio Castroneves rockets from third to win the Iowa Corn 300 after three winless years in the IndyCar Series.
Iowa Speedway played host to the Verizon IndyCar Series with Will Power and JR Hildebrand leading the field to green. Hildebrand gets shuffled on the start falling to fourth before hitting the back straight. Helio Castroneves opposite from JR would make his way up second.
Graham Rahal starting tenth made his way up into the top 5 early passing Tony Kanaan, Alexander Rossi, and other top 10 contenders.
Iowa Speedway is the shortest track on the VICS schedule so lap traffic would play a factor with leader Will Power catching the last place Marco Andretti by lap 10. Andretti fought Power for 4 laps before ultimately being passed by the former champ.
Later into the run, Castroneves would get past his teammate for the lead along with Hildebrand making his way back up the order passing Power for second on lap 24. Ed Carpenter, Mikhail Aleshin, and Graham Rahal all got past Power and battled for the third stop as pit stops loomed.
Unfortunately for Aleshin, he would be the first caution of the day wrecking coming out of turn 2 hitting the wall and ending his day.
The green flag waved with Ed Carpenter Racing battling with Rahal for third place. Carpenter would win the battle and go after Power for second.
Hildebrand after battling Rahal went after his teammate gaining second place and passing Helio Castroneves for the lead on lap 100. Josef Newgarden starting from sixteenth made his up to the sixth position by lap 110. His Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud started dropping on lap 124 but he was saved by a caution with Carlos Munoz hitting the wall on lap 132.
After having a waved off start the green was thrown on lap 142 with Hildebrand passing Power for position. The green didn’t stay out for long due to Munoz’s teammate Conor Daly also hitting the wall. Under caution, Ed Jones would slow extending the yellow period. This was caused by a possible ECU failure.
Charlie Kimball stayed out of the pits and led the field to green on lap 182. Kimball’s lead did not last long with Castroneves taking the lead back at lap 184. James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan both split Kimball for seventh and eighth with arguably the move of the race by the two.
Yellow waved once again on lap 197 due to rain in the area. The cars were parked but the rain stopped almost instantly from when it stopped.
Just minutes later the green was waved restarting on lap 210 with Castroneves still leading. Pagenaud and Kanaan battled for seventh with Pagenaud getting the better of Kanaan. After the battle, Pagenaud threw his hand up in frustration at the 2004 champion. Scott Dixon fought his way to up seventh passing Kanaan on lap 247.
Hildebrand pit on lap 248 for his lap pitstop along with the rest of the field coming just laps after. Hildebrand and Castroneves came out a net first and second with Max Chilton, Marco Andretti, and Charlie Kimball staying out way longer than everyone else. Chilton would pit while the net leaders battled Kimball for second. Marco Andretti led for seven before being passed by Hildebrand and Castroneves.
Castroneves would get pass Hildebrand on lap 268 and set sail. Hildebrand on slightly older tires would not mount a comeback on the Penske driver. Castroneves led the last 32 laps to win his 30th career win and his first since 2014 at Iowa while cutting Scott Dixon’s championship lead to eight points. Hildebrand matched his best IndyCar finish of second while Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 3rd getting his second podium of the year and his best finish since the Indy Grand Prix.
Image Credit – www.indycar.com – Chris Jones