By: Tanner Watkins
July 17, 2019 | 8:00 AM
My oh my, where has the time gone? Just a few weeks ago it feels like we were wrapping up coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500, and now IndyCar is thoroughly into the home stretch on this 2019 season. I’m still writing May on the dateline – time to catch up!
As with most years, the championship battle is coming down to the wire once again. Josef Newgarden is nursing a scant four-point lead over contender Alexander Rossi, searching for his first NTT IndyCar Series title.
Still enjoying the benefits of a double-points Indianapolis 500 victory, Simon Pagenaud won last weekend in Toronto to trim the gap from first to third all the way down to 39 points, while five-time champ Scott Dixon is still within striking distance with an 86-point gap to Newgarden.
With six races left on the schedule, the opportunities for all drivers to make up ground in their respective points battles are dwindling. One last double-points opportunity still looms at the Laguna Seca season finale, but the shadows are getting long for drivers like Will Power and Takuma Sato, currently on the outside looking in regarding the championship hunt.
As for the additional headlines? For starters, many will be happy to see Sage Karam back in the car for Carlin, racing alongside fan-favorite Conor Daly. The all-American duo was confirmed on Tuesday, serving as a contrast to Carlin’s primary combo of Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.
Furthermore, drivers and fans alike are excited to see the Iowa date move back to Saturday night racing. Attendance and on-track action in years’ past were plagued a bit by the Sunday afternoon start time and many series supporters yearned for a return to nighttime short track racing.
IndyCar and NBC were able to clear the schedule conflicts that previously moved Iowa to Sunday, which seems to be a win-win for all involved.
Lastly, Iowa presents the IndyCar faithful with a balanced end to the 2019 season – featuring three ovals and three road courses in the final six races. Each oval type is represented in the closing stages – short, intermediate and speedway sizes – and the combination of Mid-Ohio, Portland and Laguna Seca add historic prestige to the championship’s home stretch.
Interestingly enough, the three NBC network television races left on the schedule are solely the road course events, while trips to Iowa, Pocono and Gateway will all be televised on NBCSN.
Now, stay tuned for IndyCar at Iowa…
Iowa 300 Fast Facts
Race weekend: Friday, July 19 – Saturday, July 20
Track: Iowa Speedway, a 7/8-mile (0.894-mile) oval in Newton, Iowa
Race distance: 300 laps / 268.2 miles
Entry List: Iowa 300 (PDF)
Firestone tire allotment: Ten sets for use through the weekend
Twitter: @iowaspeedway, @IndyCar, #Iowa300, #IndyCar
Event website: http://IowaSpeedway.com/
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2018 race winner: James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda)
2018 NTT P1 Award winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 35.2913 seconds, 182.391 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Helio Castroneves, 17.2283 seconds, 186.809 mph, July 11, 2014
Two-lap qualifying record: Scott Dixon, 34.5588 seconds, 186.256 mph, July 11, 2014
NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, 2 p.m. ET Friday, July 19 (live); Race, 7 p.m. ET Saturday, July 20 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts AJ Allmendinger and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Dillon Welch and Robin Miller.
Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn. Jake Query is the turn announcer with Dave Furst, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 98, XM 202, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT IndyCar Series qualifying is available on Sirius 219, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT IndyCar Series practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, July 19
10 – 11 a.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #1, NBC Sports Gold (live)
1:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (single car/two timed laps), NBCSN (live); NBC Sports Gold (live)
6 – 7 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series practice #2, NBC Sports Gold (live)
Saturday, July 20
5:35 p.m. – Driver introductions
6:10 p.m. – Command to start engines
6:15 p.m. – Iowa Corn 300 (300 laps/268.2 miles), NBCSN (live)
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR.