Honda Racing Prerace: Iowa Corn 250, Iowa Speedway

Iowa Corn 250, Iowa Speedway
June 23, 2012
7:30 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network

• Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway will be the fifth consecutive week of IZOD IndyCar Series racing, and Honda-powered drivers have claimed the top two finishing positions at three of the four races contested during that run. Iowa is the second and final short oval on the 2012 schedule, and the first to feature three, 30-lap heat races, which will be run on Friday night to set the field for Saturday night’s 250-lap feature event.

• The Honda winning streak started May 27 at the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500, won by Dario Franchitti ahead of his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon in a thrilling race.

• The following week, Dixon dominated the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, qualifying on the pole and leading every lap for his first victory of 2012, followed by Franchitti. Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports completed a podium sweep for Honda by finishing third.

• For the third consecutive race, Honda-powered drivers finished 1-2 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway. Justin Wilson came from 17th on the starting grid to chase down late race leader Graham Rahal, claiming the lead and the victory after Rahal brushed the Turn 4 wall with just two laps remaining. Despite sustaining rear suspension damage, Rahal held on to finish second for Honda’s third consecutive 1-2 result.

• The 2012 season marks the return of manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Lotus now join Honda in providing engines to the 25-car starting field.

• Honda comes to this weekend’s race second in the Manufacturers’ Championship, with 57 points, to 63 for Chevrolet. Lotus is third, with 32 points.

• Dixon has led an IZOD IndyCar Series-high 329 laps this season, more than double the laps-led total of any other driver. Dixon led all 60 laps at Detroit, and race-high totals of 133 at Texas, 37 at St. Petersburg and 38 at Barber Motorsports Park. Will Power is ranked second with 135 laps led.

• Honda-powered drivers have led a total of 584 laps this season, while Chevrolet drivers have led 325 laps. Race lap leaders for Honda include Dixon (329), Franchitti (92) Takuma Sato (58), Rahal (28), Pagenaud (26), Wilson (26), Alex Tagliani (22) and Charlie Kimball (3). Dixon has led more race laps by himself than all Chevy drivers combined.

• Honda’s popular “Fastest Seat in Sports” sweepstakes makes its eighth stop of the 2012 season at Iowa Speedway this weekend. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk will take Alfred Arlic of Roanoke, Indiana, for the ride of a lifetime around the high-banked 1.5-mile oval in a two-seater IndyCar, in advance of the green flag for Saturday night’s race. Interested fans can find out more information on the “Fastest Seat in Sports” at

• As the single engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2006-2011, Honda has powered all five previous winners at Iowa Speedway. The 2012 race will be the first with manufacturer competition from Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus.

• Previous Honda-powered race winners at Iowa include Franchitti, at the inaugural 2007 event and again in 2009; the late Dan Wheldon in 2008; Tony Kanaan in 2010 and Marco Andretti in 2011, the first night event here.

• A fleet of new 2012 Honda Civic Si coupes and sedans is being utilized for Safety Car and Pace Car duties in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series. The Civic Si Coupe made its debut as an IZOD IndyCar Series Safety Car at last year’s Honda Indy Toronto. That first Civic has now been joined by additional coupes and sedans, replacing the Honda Accords formerly used by the series.

• Cars start out as standard Civic Si models, and one coupe has been developed into an IndyCar Series Safety Car by Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, Calif.

• Modifications installed at HPD include Sparco seats and four-point racing harnesses; an HPD high-performance brake system, with four-piston calipers, competition rotors, racing pads, and stainless brake lines; a Honda Genuine Accessory aerodynamic body kit, consisting of front, side and rear under spoilers; Firestone Firehawk 225/40 R18