Kanaan sets unofficial track record in Iowa Corn 300 practice

Updated: 

NEWTON, Iowa – Following a triumphant return to Road America two weeks ago, the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to on-track competition this morning for practice in advance of the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway.

The 75-minute session allowed the 22-car field to dial in setups ahead of afternoon qualifying on the 0.894-mile oval. When the checkered flag flew, Tony Kanaan topped the charts with an unofficial lap record of 17.2197 seconds (186.902 mph).

CLICK HERE: Practice 1 resultsQualifying order

Kanaan’s fast time in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet beat Helio Castroneves’ lap of 17.2283 (186.809 mph) from qualifying in 2014 as the fastest lap ever recorded at Iowa Speedway. Official records can only be set in qualifying and the race, however.

“It was OK,” Kanaan, the 2010 Iowa race winner, said of his session. “Obviously we didn’t test here, so we’re pretty happy with the car. It’s going to be really close, so we’ll see. So far, so good.”

Even with the impressive speed, Kanaan’s advantage on the field was razor thin. The top four drivers in the session were separated by less than a tenth of a second.

Castroneves finished second quick (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 17.2417 seconds, 186.664 mph), followed by Josef Newgarden (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 17.2490, 186.585) and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, 17.2963, 186.074). Points leader Simon Pagenaud was fifth in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet (17.3521, 185.710).

Newgarden, who sustained a fractured right clavicle and bone in his right hand June 12 at Texas Motor Speedway, raced to an eighth-place finish June 26 in the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America. He faces another challenge this weekend, as drivers can expect to deal with gravitational forces of nearly 5 Gs in the banked corners of the Iowa circuit. Newgarden, however, seemed as pleased with his health as he was with his speed in practice.

“I feel good. I can tell you I feel better than (at) Road America,” said the Tennessean and two-time Verizon IndyCar Series race winner who’s currently fifth in the championship. “Our cars here are always really good. The last two years we’ve been second (in the race), and Ed (Carpenter in the team’s other car) looked really good today.”

JR Hildebrand – who drove both May races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Ed Carpenter Racing – substituted for Newgarden in the No. 21 car for a June 29 test at Iowa. Newgarden appreciated Hildebrand’s feedback in improving the car.

“I think I had a little advantage with JR tuning my car,” said Newgarden. “It was already super quick last year, then he put a little more spice on it with his expertise, so it was nice having him here last week testing the thing. I learned some stuff. And like I said, we’ve got a fast car, I feel a little bit better and I think we’ll have a shot at challenging to win this thing finally.”

Absent from the top of the time sheets were entries from Andretti Autosport, which has won the last six Iowa races and seven of the nine to date. The team still had a presence in practice, however.

Marco Andretti brought out the first yellow flag of the session just seven minutes in, when his No. 27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda spun out of Turn 4. Andretti kept the car off the wall, was restarted by the Holmatro Safety Team and returned to pit lane.

CLICK HERE: Watch Marco Andretti's spin

Moments later, teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay also spun at the exit of Turn 4, making light contact with the outside SAFER barrier with the No. 28 DHL Honda. Hunter-Reay, who has won three of the last four races at Iowa, walked away uninjured.

“Just doing a qualifying simulation run and had a car come out in front of me right in the middle of the corner,” said the 2012 IndyCar champion. “I tried to stay with it and just lost the rear like Marco did, except we weren’t fortunate enough to keep it off the wall.”

Hunter-Reay’s crew was able to repair the light damage to the rear of the No. 28 Honda, and the Fort Lauderdale native returned to the track with 20 minutes remaining to post 17 more laps.

Rookie and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi turned the most laps in the session, 125, nearly half of Sunday’s race distance. The American’s best lap in the session was 17.4584 seconds (184.347 mph), putting the No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport 11th quickest.

Single-car qualifying, each entry running two consecutive laps on the 0.894-mile oval, begins at 3 p.m. ET today. Live coverage is available on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Coverage of Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300-lap race begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Practice 1 results are below:

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Diff

Gap

Best Lap

Total Laps

1

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

00:17.2197

186.902

--.----

--.----

5

33

2

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

00:17.2417

186.664

0.0220

0.0220

13

14

3

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

00:17.2490

186.585

0.0293

0.0073

5

51

4

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

00:17.2963

186.074

0.0766

0.0473

50

52

5

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

00:17.3302

185.710

0.1105

0.0339

16

20

6

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

00:17.3521

185.476

0.1324

0.0219

68

70

7

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

00:17.4019

184.945

0.1822

0.0498

26

90

8

20

Carpenter, Ed

D/C/C/F

00:17.4020

184.944

0.1823

0.0001

44

49

9

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

00:17.4275

184.674

0.2078

0.0255

3

20

10

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

00:17.4343

184.602

0.2146

0.0068

18

23

11

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

00:17.4584

184.347

0.2387

0.0241

125

125

12

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

00:17.4894

184.020

0.2697

0.0310

13

66

13

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

00:17.4960

183.951

0.2763

0.0066

9

37

14

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

00:17.5054

183.852

0.2857

0.0094

57

67

15

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

00:17.5770

183.103

0.3573

0.0716

58

71

16

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

00:17.6774

182.063

0.4577

0.1004

5

69

17

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

00:17.6883

181.951

0.4686

0.0109

3

55

18

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

00:17.6937

181.895

0.4740

0.0054

41

46

19

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

00:17.7576

181.241

0.5379

0.0639

40

41

20

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

00:17.7848

180.964

0.5651

0.0272

44

48

21

19

Chaves, Gabby

D/H/H/F

00:17.8219

180.587

0.6022

0.0371

58

58

22

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

00:17.9535

179.263

0.7338

0.1316

49

51

(R) Rookie (C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone Total Laps: 1156

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