“Ma, meatloaf!”

If mom is correct, Simon Pagenaud is going to love racing at Iowa Speedway.

Mom always said, “If you like ground beef, if you like bread, if you like ketchup, if you like onions, of course you’ll love meatloaf.” Using mom’s reasoning, Pagenaud will love Iowa Speedway.

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be the fourth oval race in Pagenaud’s racing career. His first three oval races have come in the last month. The tracks were the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile.

The Frenchman has thoroughly enjoyed the ingredients that make each one of these oval tracks a challenge. In Iowa Speedway, he’ll have a little taste of each baked into one.

He’ll taste some of the banking he had at Texas. He should taste a little of the sensation of speed Indy provides, and he’ll taste all this on a short track like Milwaukee, except smaller and faster.

In his first year of IZOD IndyCar Series racing, some thought oval racing might become an acquired taste for Pagenaud that would eventually come with time. However, his results and enthusiasm prove that he can’t get enough of them.

In the first three oval races this year, Pagenaud has driven the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car back to his pit box after taking the checkered flag each time. He has completed 652 of the 653 laps raced on the ovals so far this year. He’s recorded finishes of 16th (Indy), sixth (Texas) and 12th (Milwaukee), which have kept him floating around the top five in IndyCar points and leading the Rookie of the Year standings.

Now we’re not saying Iowa Speedway is the meatloaf of racing, but the track in Newton, Iowa, will provide Pagenaud a little of everything he has learned to devour in ovals so far this year.

“Ma, meatloaf, now!”

Driver: Simon Pagenaud
Hometown: Poiters, France
Car: No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Event: Iowa Corn Indy 250
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Series: Round 9 of 16 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series
Standings: 6th

SIMON PAGENAUD (Poitiers, France)
The state of Iowa is an agricultural state with lots of farms. Can you compare it to a similar area in France?
“USA and France have their very own character. It would be wrong to compare one to the other. France is the size one U.S. state. You could say the area around the Magny-Cours F1 race track is similar to the area around Iowa Speedway where there is a lot of farming.”

Coming from France, did you ever think you’d be racing on a small oval surrounded by farms in the middle of Iowa?
“No, I guess you don’t really think about those kind of things. I wanted to be involved in racing because cars fascinate me, and I love the feeling of being in control above the limits of a race car.”

Iowans are very friendly. As a French driver, how well would you say you’ve been received by U.S. motorsports fans?
“I think I have more U.S. fans than French or even European fans. So, that says it all. I enjoy racing and living in the U.S., and I feel like the fans enjoy seeing me coming from a different path and doing well. I try to give them as much as I can, and they give back to me a lot too before and after each race with all their messages.”

Describe the Iowa Speedway?
“It’s a fun place. I’m looking forward to going again after the test we had last week. The racing should be great with IndyCar mandating a certain downforce level giving the drivers control of the racing! I enjoyed Milwaukee and want to go through my next phase of learning at Iowa.”

SSM Iowa Speedway Notes

*The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will only be Simon Pagenaud’s fourth oval race in his career. The first was the recent Indianapolis 500 where Pagenaud completed all 200 laps and finished 16th.

*The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be Simon Pagenaud’s 26th start in a major open-wheel race. He has 11 IZOD IndyCar starts and 14 Champ Car races under his belt.

*Pagenaud enters the Iowa Corn Indy 250 sixth in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship with 216 points. However, he is only 27 points out of second place. Pagenaud trails Castroneves in fifth with 231, Ryan Hunter-Reay with 233, Scott Dixon with 239 and James Hinchcliffe in second with 243 points.

*So far in 2012, there have been 1,063 laps of competition. Pagenaud has completed all but two. He and the HP team have completed 1,061 laps of competition to date, which is the most of all IZOD Indy Car Series drivers this year.

*Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter are the only two IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who have been running at the finish of every IZOD IndyCar Series race in 2012. Pagenaud also leads the Sunoco Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year standings.

*The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be the 68th time a Sam Schmidt-owned car has lined up on an IZOD IndyCar Series grid. Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports co-owner Davey Hamilton was in the cockpit of the No. 99 car when SSM made its first race in March 2001 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Social Media Information
For news and photos in real-time, follow Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Simon Pagenaud on Twitter.

Helpful Twitter Handles and Hashtags:
@SSMIndy                                #Iowa250
@simonpagenaud                    #indycar2012
@DaveyHamilton
@HPMotorsports77
@Matey77
@Indycar
@HondaRacing_HPD
@IowaSpeedway