NEWTON, Iowa, June 22, 2012 – In a departure from single-car qualifications for IZOD IndyCar Series oval races, three heat races were held Friday, June 22 to set the starting grid for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.

Heat race lineups were determined by lap times recorded by drivers in the second practice session earlier in the day.
· Heat Race 1 consisted of the even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time overall, and determined the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.
·Heat Race 2 consisted of the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth-quickest practice time overall, and determined the odd-numbered positions in the starting field from ninth down.
·Race 3 consisted of drivers ranked one through eight by combined practice times. Results of Race 3 determined the first four rows, with the winner taking the pole position.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud will start 25th in Saturday’s 250-lap IZOD Indy Car Series race at Iowa Speedway after he finished ninth in Heat Race 2. Pagenaud and crew have struggled with the setup for Iowa’s high-banked short oval.

The Frenchman drove his ill-handling No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car to a ninth-place finish in Heat 2, which places him in the last row of the 25-car field. It will be Pagenuad’s first race on the Iowa Speedway, which sits just east of Des Moines.

He knows he didn’t qualify a car he would want to race for 250 laps.

“It was evil,” he said. “We took our heat race as a practice run because we’re starting last anyway because of an engine change. Obviously, we’re not where we want to be yet. We’re going to think about it over night and come back stronger tomorrow.”

The race will be just Pagenaud’s fourth start on an oval track. The Frenchman raced in the Indianapolis 500 last month, finishing 16th in his first race on an oval, and finished sixth two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti will start on pole for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 after winning Heat Race 3. Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves will start next to Franchitti on the Front Row.

Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe will start third and fourth in Row 2, while Penske Racing’s Ryan Briscoe rounds out the top five.

IZOD IndyCar Series points leader, Will Power, will start sixth and next to his Penske teammate, Briscoe, in Row 3.

The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will air live Saturday, June 23, at 10 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. It can also be heard on the IMS Radio Network (check local listings) and XM94/Sirius 121. Tape-delayed coverage of the IndyCar heat races from Friday will air immediately prior to the race at 9 p.m. ET, Saturday night on NBC Sports Network.

DATE: June 22, 2012
EVENT: Iowa Corn Indy 250
LOCATION: Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa (1-mile oval)
SERIES: IZOD IndyCar Series
PAGENAUD: 25th (finished 9th in Heat 2)
POLE WINNER: Dario Franchitti (winner of Heat 3)