Andretti Harvests A Win In Iowa

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 26 2011

Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti are former teammates who went after each hard Saturday in Iowa. (IndyCar Series photo by Chris Jones)

Marco Andretti overtook former Andretti Autosport teammate Tony Kanaan on Lap 232 of 250 and went on to a 0.7932-of-a-second victory in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway.

“We were down a little bit on the bigger ovals but we know when it comes down to handling we’d be alright,” Andretti said. “These guys did a great job with pits. They got me the lead back. We had some good racing with T.K. (Kanaan). It was good fun.”

It was Andretti’s first win of 2011 and his second win of his Indy car career. His last win was at Infineon Raceway in 2006, 79 races ago. It is his first win on an oval.

Andretti had passed Kanaan on Lap 209, only to have Kanaan return the favor four laps later. Andretti was running second to Dario Franchitti when they cycled through for their final round of service on Lap 184 under caution. Andretti got out first. On a Lap 199 restart, Kanaan overtook Franchitti for second and the charge to the checkered flag was on.

“Knowing TK, I knew he would do exactly what I did to him,” Andretti said. “He’d make his car very wide. I didn’t want to wait until two to go because he was just going to chop me and I would have been done. I knew I had to get it done earlier and actually make my car wide.”

It was the third victory for Andretti Autosport in the five races at Iowa Speedway, including Kanaan in 2010.

“It was pretty clean until he chopped me off,” Kanaan said. “Congratulations to him. He did a great job. It was a great battle, a great race. We didn’t quite have the car. I think towards the end we got a littlw stronger. I’m happy for the team.”

Scott Dixon charged from 23rd on the starting grid to finish third and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti, who led the most laps, was fifth. Rookie JR Hildebrand, the Indianapolis 500 runner-up, passed Franchitti on Lap 242 for fourth place.

“It was a good night for Team Target,” Dixon said. “We didn’t have the best car out there, but it was a tough race with lots of traffic. All in all, great day for both cars. We made some changes and got to work on the car which was really loose. It feels like a win coming from 23rd to third.”

Hildebrand said it felt great to run with the leaders at the track in Newton, Iowa.

“That was my first time up front, rubbin’ with those boys,” he said. “There were a couple of spots that were a little dicey. It may be I’ll have to go up to some guys and say, ‘sorry about that.’ This is a tough place to race, but the Panther Racing guys gave me an awesome car. I’m happy how the whole weekend has gone for the National Guard team.”

Franchitti had started the race tied for the points lead. He became sole possessor of that lead as Team Penske’s Will Power was involved in a wreck.

“We had a bit of problem on that last pit stop and Marco got ahead,” Franchitti said. “All night we had been getting more and more oversteer, and once we got in traffic I was toast. We struggled at the end.”

Power suffered an accident midway through the race and finished 21st, as he sustained a minor concussion and fell to second in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.

Also on Saturday, Josef Newgarden, who overtook pole sitter and Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Esteban Guerrieri on Lap 26, turned a 0.3574 of a second advantage into a 5.4724-second victory.

Newgarden, earning his third victory of the season, improved his championship points lead from 13 to 46 over Guerrieri, who retired midway through the race with a mechanical issue (steering) and was credited with 12th place.

Gustavo Yacaman, driving the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car, recorded a Firestone Indy Lights-best runner-up finish. Clauson, competing in his third Firestone Indy Lights oval race, was 5.8 seconds back but also finished a season-high third.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 26 2011
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