Rahal steps into DRR's No. 24 car in Iowa
Dreyer and Reinbold Racing continue to soldier on after their driver Mike Conway was launched into the fence during the final laps of last month’s Indianapolis 500. At the most recent IZOD IndyCar Series race two weeks ago in Texas, Tomas Scheckter stepped into Conway’s No. 24 (which had gone black and had Roll Coater on the sidepods instead of Conway’s usual blue and Dad’s Root Beer marks) and finished 13th, but DRR has decided to go with a different man for the No. 24 this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
Graham Rahal did not race at Texas, but after running in the
Indy 500 for his father’s team, the American driver will be
back in action for DRR in this Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250.
Dad’s Root Beer will be back on the car, as well as an
additional mark for Hot Wheels. He’s finished 10th and 11th
in his previous two starts at the 7/8-mile bullring, the only short
oval on the IndyCar circuit.
"Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has clearly done an impressive job this season and I really have to thank [co-owner] Robbie [Buhl], [co-owner] Dennis [Reinbold], the team, and Dad's Root Beer for this opportunity to compete in Iowa,” he said in a team release. “I also want to wish Mike Conway a quick recovery and hopefully we can bring home a good result for him. I can't wait to get behind the wheel…and hopefully contribute more success to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing."
There’s also an effort underway to help Rahal stay with DRR for more events after this Sunday. According to an article in Autosport, team GM Larry Curry said that he’s sure that talks between Rahal and the team about an extended engagement with the two-car squad will continue into next week – an off-weekend for the IZOD IndyCar Series before the next round at Watkins Glen International on the Fourth of July weekend.
Another American pilot will have his season extended by at least one more race as well this weekend. Ryan Hunter-Reay, currently sixth in the championship (and the top driver in the standings that isn’t with Target Chip Ganassi Racing or Team Penske), will have a different look on his No. 37 Andretti Autosport car as American ethanol companies ICM and Green Plains Renewable Energy have stepped up to support him this weekend.
RHR used to drive with Ethanol backing during his days with Rahal Letterman Racing, so it’s a bit of a reunion this weekend for the two parties.
“After Texas, our goal was to get to Iowa and that's what we've accomplished,” he said. “Now, we need to take advantage of the opportunity that Ethanol USA has given to me and the Team IZOD guys. I've said all along that this is a great race team and we can win a lot of races together. We just need that chance and this weekend is our next shot."
IOWA’S LAST OVAL FOR A WHILE
After Sunday’s event, the IZOD IndyCar Series will spend the rest of the summer on the road and street courses, with five consecutive twisty tracks from the Fourth of July at Watkins Glen to Aug. 22 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The series won’t be back on the speedways until Aug. 28 at Chicagoland Speedway, which starts a season-ending stretch of four straight ovals.
Since the current oval block began at Kansas in May, Will Power has seen his sizable lead evaporate and now sits three points out of Dario Franchitti, who secured P1 in the standings with a fifth place finish two weeks ago at Texas.
Power has the opportunity to take back the point with a strong showing this weekend, which may set-up another hot streak like he had during the first stretch of road/street circuits this season. Power logged back-to-back victories to start his campaign at Sao Paulo, Brazil and St. Petersburg, and put up four straight top-5 runs.
But right now, Power is focusing on Iowa, where he has just one start in his career (2008, KV Racing Technology).
“I ran here back in 2008 and actually did reasonably well (ninth place),” he said. “I did not have the opportunity to race here last year and that makes this weekend all the better. The Verizon car should be in great shape going into this event. I was able to log some miles at the [June 9] test, which should prove to be beneficial in the upcoming race. We have had a couple of less-than-desirable finishes lately so I feel we are due to have a great result this weekend."