Defending race champion James Hinchcliffe reckons his Arrow Schmidt Peterson team will be on the pace at Iowa Speedway, despite big changes for the 2019 Iowa 300 race.
“It kind of sucks that the race we were particularly strong at last year has had the most changes”, said the Canadian ahead of this weekend’s race.
Hinchcliffe upbeat despite Iowa 300 changes
For Saturday’s race, IndyCar has mandated an increased boost pressure for the 7/8-mile oval and returned the race to its previous night-time slot. Both changes are a significant departure from the race format of 12 months ago but Hinchcliffe remains upbeat about his chances.
“Event with that (this year’s changes), I’m confident that we can roll off with a strong No. 5 Arrow car”, he said.
The 32-year-old, alongside Josef Newgarden, was the class of the field this time last year as a late-race caution gave Hinchcliffe the win under yellow. However, higher boost levels and a late evening start time reduce the value of carrying over set-up data from 2018.
Rookie testing a potential benefit for Hinchcliffe
2-time Iowa winner Hinchcliffe is, however, buoyed by a successful test at the track for rookie teammate Marcus Ericsson.
The Swede tested there in late-June and Hinchcliffe is optimistic the team can carry set-up data into the 300-lap race: “Marcus had a great test here a few weeks ago so hopefully, we can have the same form we had here last season.”
Practice for the Iowa 300 – the 12th round of the NTT IndyCar Series – starts 10am (local) Friday, 19 July with qualifying from 1pm (local).
The race itself will start around 6.15pm (local) Saturday, 20 July for 300 laps with live coverage on NBCSN and the NBC Sports Gold app.