OK, it’s taken me awhile to get around to it, but here are the pics from our trip to the races in Iowa last week. 20 Prospect Jr. and I attended the Iowa Corn 250 for the second consecutive year. This year was a little different though, in that the IndyCar series brought along all three of there “feeder” series to Iowa, so there was a full slate of racing on Saturday along with the qualifying for the big race on Sunday.
As I’ve said many times, the Iowa Speedway is the cleanest, most family friendly race track I’ve ever been to. It’s a great facility, with plenty of amenities, friendly staff and awesome sightlines. There really isn’t a bad seat in the place.
The attendance was down a little from last year, and the weekend weather forecast called for doom and gloom, and armagaedon like storms. It’s the damndest thing, but for the last 3 – 4 years the state of Iowa has been iniudated with biblical rains, while just a few hundred miles to the north we’ve been dry as a bone. This year was no different. The fields are flooded all over the place down there.
While the racing was interesting on Saturday, the highlight was the autograph session. After the Indycar’s were done qualifying, the league brings all of the drivers out to a large tent. The drivers are seated around the perimieter in groups of 3, and fans can line up to get the autographs of their favorite drivers. Predictably, the lines for Danica Patrick were ginormous, but luckily, we weren’t too interested in her anyway. 20 P Jr. had picked out a baseball cap from the sounvenier stand and we made our way through a couple of different lines getting drivers to sign it. In the end he came away with Tony Kanann, Graham Rahal, Sarah Fisher, Takuma Sato, Justin Wilson, Mario Moraes, E.J. Viso, and Rafa Matos. I was very proud of the way he politely asked for signatures amd said thank you afterwards.
We got a later start on Sunday morning, having to driver over to Newton from Winterset, but we still had time to take in the fan walk. For $10 (kids under 12 free) you can walk the garage area before the race as the teams are preparing the cars. And by walk the garage, I mean walk inside of the garage, just feet away from the mechanics. The access is amazing, and unique among professional sports. This is like letting the fans down onto the field during batting practice. Mind boggling, but one of the many endearing qualities of Indycar. Even after 100 years it is still fan friendly and accessable.
As for the race on Sunday it was amazing. There were 15 lead changes during the race, and it came down to the last 10 laps. Crowd favorite Tony Kanaan passed the dancing with the stars’ Helio Castroneves for the win.
This will probably be our last visit to Iowa Speedway for awhile. I have promised Mrs. 20 Prospect to be home for Father’s Day next year. So it remains to be seen if we can swing another race next summer. This one might be tough to top.