Newton, IA (Sports Network) - Defending IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter- Reay is hoping his winning momentum will continue this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Last Saturday, Hunter-Reay won at The Milwaukee Mile for the second year in a row. He joined his Andretti Autosport teammate, James Hinchcliffe, as the only drivers with multiple victories this season. Hunter-Reay also moved up to second in the championship standings. He trails Helio Castroneves by 16 points.
Hunter-Reay won last year's race at Iowa, which was his second of three straight victories. His winning streak continued in Toronto.
"The Iowa Speedway oval is one of a kind; a very unique track that makes for some of the closest racing of the year," Hunter-Reay said. "Last year's race came down to the wire, and I expect the same this year. The strategy is certainly different this time around with the heat races paying points, so we need to focus on not only being fast at the end of the race, but coming right out of the box strong."
For the second year, the starting field at Iowa will be determined through three heat races. Each heat is 50 laps in length, and the lineups for the races are set by single-car, single-lap qualifying.
The first heat race will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time overall. It will determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.
Race 2 will feature the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth- quickest practice time overall. The odd-numbered positions in the starting field from 9th down will be decided in this event.
Race 3 will consist of drivers ranked one through eight by combined practice times. The finishing order of race 3 will set the top-eight starting spots, with the winner taking the pole position.
The 250-mile event at Iowa is scheduled for Sunday (3 p.m. ET). It had run on Saturday night in the past.
"This year, we're racing in daylight hours for the first time since I could remember," Hunter-Reay said. "It's going to be a different race this year."
Hunter-Reay's teammate, Marco Andretti, won at Iowa two years ago but has not been into victory circle for an IndyCar race since then. Andretti finished second at this track last year. At Milwaukee, he started on the pole and led the first 61 laps before he suffered a mechanical issue late in the race and ended up finishing 20th. He is now 50 points behind Castroneves.
"As a team, we've traditionally been strong in Iowa, and we need to continue that this year," Andretti said. :We're coming for a win but definitely would like to at least keep the consistency going. With the heat races paying extra points, we're aiming for total domination and maximum points."
Twenty-four teams are on the entry list for the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
Series: IZOD IndyCar. Date: Sunday, June 23. Race: Iowa Corn Indy 250. Site: Iowa Speedway. Track: 0.875-mile oval. Start Time: 3 p.m. ET. Laps: 250. Miles: 218.75. 2012 Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay. Television: ABC. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.
06/20 18:53:42 ET