How does a Frenchman prefer his corn prepared? It is safe to say Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier find the most enjoyment out of DEKALB corn seeds, which serve as the primary sponsor for the Iowa Corn Indy 250, but both drivers regularly enjoy the grain in their diets.
IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Tristan Vautier likes corn in his salads with rice, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and tuna. His teammate Simon Pagenaud loves corn and always keeps it handy in his house.
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 is about much more than corn however, and both drivers plan on showing up to the 7/8-mile oval in top form.
In Simon Pagenaud’s first race at Iowa Speedway in 2012, he drove the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car from his starting position of 25th all the way to fifth.
“In our first year at Iowa Speedway, it took us some time to understand what to do with the race car,” Pagenaud said. “In the race my engineers hit the sweet spot though and the car was really nice to drive. I was able to be aggressive and we made up a ton of ground. I was running in the top-three at the end so I learned a lot that day. I figured out how aggressive I needed to be to succeed here and I hope to do the same this weekend.”
Tristan Vautier started on pole and finished fourth in his debut race at Iowa Speedway in 2012 driving in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.
“I really enjoyed the feeling of high grip in the banking and being able to stay flat in the corner getting ‘carried’ by the banking,” Vautier said. “The bumps in Turns 1 and 2 are always very challenging though because it upsets the car.”
With a lap at Iowa Speedway taking only 18 seconds, drivers must maintain focus at all times.
“You pretty much spend the whole time in the corners in Iowa,” Pagenaud said. “There are a lot of bumps, so you have to stay very focused on your line. There’s not really any downtime to think about anything else. You’re just trying to be proactive on the car’s behavior and keep your car as straight as possible when you cross the bumps.”
Vautier, driving the No. 55 Coastal.com/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, will be in overdrive trying to learn the differences between driving an IndyCar and a Firestone Indy Lights car at Iowa Speedway.
“Ovals are still a big challenge for me, especially at a race where you have to be very good at timing passes and dealing with traffic in general to make sure you don’t lose your momentum,” Vautier said. “There are lots of new things to learn in a very short time, and this car is much harder to drive than a Firestone Indy Lights car, especially on ovals. The learning curve makes things exciting though, and I love challenges!”
Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier will practice and qualify at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, June 22. The green flag will fly for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday, June 23rd at 3 p.m. ET. Broadcast coverage begins on ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET.