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Rain disrupts Friday practice at Iowa

Rain was the big story at Iowa Speedway on Friday, with the weather severely reducing the available practice times ahead of evening qualifying.
CLICK: Full practice 1 results
CLICK: Full practice 2 results
CLICK: Friday practice combined times

Friday at Iowa Speedway proved to be more a matter of watching the skies and hoping that the rain stopped and stayed away than it was about drivers actually getting out on the 7/8ths of a mile oval and putting down fast lap times.

The first session, which had been scheduled to last for 75 minutes, ended with rain arriving just 15 minutes into the session. When officials were forced to bring out red flags to cancel the session, Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe had posted the fastest lap time of 17.5249s (183.647mph) which was 0.0081s faster than Ganassi's Tony Kanaan.

Until the yellows came out for rain, the only incident of the short-lived first practice session had been for the endplate from the rear win of Ryan Hunter-Reay's #28 flying off.

Because of the drastically curtailed running time, IndyCar officials scheduled a second practice session for later in the afternoon after the rain had passed over the area and the track had been dried. Even so, the new session started an hour later than hoped and was further interrupted just ten minutes into the session by renewed sprinkles of rain.

In the end, the weather relented sufficiently to allow the drivers to have something in the order of 45 minutes of practice, with the best times coming late in the session and going to Penske duo Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power. Montoya's time of 17.4327s (184.619mph) was 0.0033s ahead of the championship leader, while Hinchcliffe repeated his earlier strong form to set the third fastest time of the session.

Although Montoya won pole an the race last week at Pocono, the former F1 and NASCAR driver admitted that he still had a lot to learn about racing an open wheel car at a short oval like Iowa.

"I've got to figure out how close you can run," he explained. "Are you comfortable running the second groove and you've got to experiment, but you've got to experiment carefully because if you get it wrong you are out. Right now, we just really need to be smart about how we do things.

"I think managing traffic is going to be really important," he added. "If you are not leading keeping up with the leaders is going to be key."

The top five times of afternoon practice were set in the second session, with Kanaan the first man not to be able to improve on his speed in the brief first session. For the most part teams were concentrating on race trim and not worrying about qualifying set-up as there is a significant chance that the weather may further affect the planned sessions.

Qualifying is due to take place at 6pm local time (12midnight BST). The schedule originally planned a post-qualifying early evening practice session to allow teams to work on race set-up but that now will not take place, as the circuit is also playing host to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday evening.

The Iowa Corn Indy 300 is scheduled to start at 7.50pm local time (1.50am BST) on Saturday evening, but weather may again be a concern.

Full practice 1 results
Full practice 2 results
Friday practice combined times



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The Team Penske crew of Juan Pablo Montoya simulate a pit stop during practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his car during a rain delay at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The scene on pit lane under a rain delay at Toronto. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media.)
Rain drops on a space nose cone for Ryan Hunter-Reay`s car (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais chats with his team on pit lane during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher  for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais exits Turn 8 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens  for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais passes by the Princes` Gate at Turn 1 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Eric Anderson  for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden walks the paddock prior to practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud enters Turn 4 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden waits on pit lane for practice to begin for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden enters Turn 4 during practice for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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