Former NASCAR driver, and designer of Iowa Speedway, Rusty Wallace has admitted to being frustrated that inclement weather again came close to ruining the IndyCar Series visit to 'his' circuit.
Practice for the Firestone Indy Lights drivers was rained out on Friday and, even though a modicum of action was possible for both series on Saturday, the IndyCar field had to be set according to owners' points after 'weepers' appeared around the 0.875mile oval, making the surface wet in patches and unpredictable.
Wallace has admitted that, while the rain the besieged the area in the build-up to the event was beyond his control, he would be seeking measures to prevent a repeat. The cancellation of qualifying was the first at an IndyCar event since the series was truly rained out on its last visit to Iowa twelve months ago, and the former NASCAR star is keen to make this year's situation the last.
"There are a lot of things we can control, but unfortunately we can't control the weather," Wallace sighed, "We were really upset that we had a couple of weepers that cancelled qualifying. As you know, we've been inundated with rain here, so much rain it's unbelievable. It finally stopped, and we got the race in, but we're going to do some research after this event and see if there's anything we can do to help that.
"Almost all of the tracks on the NASCAR series have suffered [simialr problems]. [There have been] a lot of problems at Pocono, at Michigan, Texas. It's not an excuse, and we've got to figure out what's causing it at our racetrack. It's the first time we've ever seen it - it just popped up unbeknownst to us. The area is just so saturated with water due to all the rain in the Midwest."
Wallace's eagerness to find a solution to the problem will no doubt have been hastened by the news that the Speedway and IndyCar Series executives are nearing completion of a two-year extension to their current deal.
"We are very excited about being here - we're excited to be here every year," Terry Angstadt, the IRL's commercial division president, commented, "I think this year is even more special because of the opportunity to extend this into the future. When we show up, from people at the airport, to people at the hotels, to fans in and around the grounds, you're made to feel very welcome, and that doesn't happen in every market. We love the configuration, the distance of the track. It works so well for us. It works for us on every level."
Wallace confirmed that the venue was a hit with those on track too.
"I was talking to a lot of the drivers in the drivers' meeting, and they were just so excited," he claimed, "They said 'we just love coming here, we love the racing, we love the shape of the track, the three different angles of the track, the multi-groove banking. It's neat'."