The final 50 laps of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway would be a showstopper as it’d be Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan battling back and forth for the win.
In the end, Andretti used one of his remaining overtake boosts to get by Kanaan with 19 to go and then used the other nine in the final 10 laps to secure it.
[media-credit id=2 align=”alignright” width=”246″][/media-credit]”Never doubt these guys,” Andretti said after the race after scoring his first win since Sonoma in 2007. “We’re down a little bit on the big ovals, but when it comes down to the end, we’ll be alright. These guys in the pits got me back in front with the great pit stop. Great racing with TK – it was fun.”
The second career win for Andretti marks the first win on an oval by an Andretti since 2000 when Michael Andretti won at Japan.
After a caution on lap 186 for Takumo Sato getting in the wall, Andretti lined up side-by-side with Kanaan on the restart. The first restart with 60 to go was called off for Andretti jumping, but the second was good to go.
The pair battled back and forth, trading the lead four times before Andretti secured the lead with a thrilling pass heading into turn one underneath Kanaan.
“I had eyes in the back of my head and I made it difficult on him,” Andretti said. “No mercy at this point. I needed it.”
Kanaan would get credited with second, keeping his string of solid runs going.
“I told him if it wasn’t for the win, we were going to talk about it so fair enough,” Kanaan said afterwards of racing with Andretti. “If I was in his position, I would’ve done the same. It was a great battle. A fun race.”
Meanwhile, it was Scott Dixon finishing third after starting 23rd on the field.
“It was a great night for us,” Dixon said. “It’s a good finish. The car wasn’t that great. The guys in the pits did a helluva job. Its obviously a good points night for Dario and I. It was crazy back there early on, but there was some good, close racing near the end.”
JR Hildebrand and Dario Franchitti would round out the top five. Ryan Briscoe would finish sixth, followed by Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Danica Patrick.
Throughout the night, a couple drivers took some hard hits, including Will Power, who backed it into the wall on lap 90. The incident came after substaining damage on pit road from contact with Charlie Kimball on lap 14.
“It was definitely a hard hit,” Power said, after coming into Iowa tied for the points lead with Dario Franchitti. “The Verizon car was damaged after the incident in the pits and we just had a problem with the steering and it came around on me. It’s a tough result for us tonight. We’ll do our best to get it back next race.”
Power would be evaluated and it’d be determined that he suffered a minor concussion. IndyCar officials said that before he can compete in Toronto in two weeks, he will need to be cleared.
Other drivers taking hard hits would be Ana Beatriz and Mike Conway in a big wreck early on and Sebastian Saavedra (Lap 116), though everybody was checked out and released as being okay.