Originally written on Indy Racing Revolution  |  Last updated 6/23/12
1. Downforce and tires

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 should be an interesting race as drivers continue to deal with a low-downforce aero package, which makes getting around Iowa Speedway's bullring a lot more difficult. Friday's qualifying heat races gave them an idea of what to expect, but those were only 30 laps long. Pole sitter Dario Franchitti surmised last night that the heats were about half of a tire stint, so we've yet to see what happens when the Firestone Firehawks start losing a lot of grip. As at Texas, whoever can cope with the handling changes in the waning laps of those stints will be in the best position to do well.

2. One more hurdle for Power

Following Iowa, the IZOD IndyCar Series goes on a stretch of five straight road/street course events (maybe six, depending on where the replacement race for the aborted China round goes). That's obviously good news for championship leader Will Power, who leads James Hinchcliffe by 31 points and Scott Dixon by 35 points heading into tonight's race. But Power has to perform well tonight on the bullring first. If he can keep Hinchcliffe and Dixon from really hacking into his lead, he'll be in a strong position to build his lead when the series gets to Toronto in two weeks.

3. Can Marco save his season?

Marco Andretti has taken a serious fall down the championship this season, with lots of bad luck coming to him in the season's first half. But last year at Iowa, the son of Michael and grandson of Mario took down his former teammate Tony Kanaan in a late duel to earn his second career IndyCar win. Andretti returns to Iowa with a dismal 18th-place standing in points, but he'll start third tonight and will be very desperate to start the second half of 2012 on a winning note.

4. Small track, BIG action

Like its similar cousin at Richmond International Raceway, the 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway is more like a mini-sized superspeedway than a traditional short track. Races often finish within two hours at Iowa, but the action in that time is fast and furious. It's both physically and mentally taxing to the drivers and with the new aero package, it's tougher to drive than ever before. Look for more than one close call tonight and watch the bumpy Turn 2 for accidents; competitors will have to be very careful in 2, especially as their grip goes away in a stint.
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