USF2000 – Iowa Preview: Round 4 and the 2nd Oval of the Season

This weekend, the US F2000 National Championship Presented by Cooper Tires contests the fourth round of their season at the Iowa Speedway. They will be there along with every other part of the Road2Indy program and the IZOD IndyCar Series. It should make for a fantastic weekend of open-wheel racing.

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The last round for the US F2000 competitors was at the O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis on Saturday night prior to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Although the car count for US F2000 in this rebirth season is not as strong as we would all like, there was still some great racing to be seen. The eventual race winner, Patrick McKenna fought with series championship leader Sage Karam for the first half of the race. Sage made a small error coming out of Turn 4 and lost just enough momentum for Patrick to secure the pass on the low side of the track. After that, McKenna never looked back and cruised to the win. Meanwhile, behind Sage and Patrick, Mikhail Goikhberg and Zach Veach fought for the final podium step. Zach would finished just shy of the podium in his first competition on an oval. He had made his debut in a US F2000 car at the exhibition race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterrey, CA the week before, but this was his first points-paying race, and his first oval race. All in all, it was a good outing.

Coming into Iowa, Sage Karam of Andretti Autosport still has a stranglehold on the series championship leading Patrick McKenna 92-78. Sage won the first two rounds on the Streets of St. Petersburg in convincing fashion, and his 2nd place finish at ORP prevented Patrick from gaining too much ground.

1 SAGE KARAM 33 33 26 92
2 PATRICK MCKENNA 25 22 31 78
3 TERRICK MANSUR 22 19 15 56
5 JOSH FIELDING 14 25 1 40
6 RAPHAEL ABBATE 15 11 13 39
7 MARTIN SCUNCIO 19 1 17 37
8 ANTHONY FURFARI 12 15 0 27
10 ZACH VEACH 0 0 19 19
11 MARTIN SALA 17 1 0 18
12 BENJAMIN SEARCY 1 17 0 18
13 JAVIER BARRALES 0 0 14 14
14 MATTHEW POWERS 1 12 0 13

Although ORP and the Iowa Speedway are similar in length, 5/8 and 7/8-mile respectively, they are very different race tracks. ORP is almost flat requiring drivers to lift entering T1 and T3 and the preferred line is very high, right up next to the wall. Iowa, on the other hand, is a high-banked speedway in miniature. The turns have a graduated banking between 12 and 14 degrees, permitting multiple lines of racing and flat out speeds. Even though McKenna had never even watched an oval race let alone raced on an oval before ORP, he’s shown that he certainly knows how to turn left and go fast. In spite of Iowa being a very different type of oval, I expect that we’ll see the same battles as we did at ORP. Sage Karam and Patrick McKenna will battle for the lead, while Zach Veach, Mikhail Goikhberg, and Terrick Mansur fight for the final podium spot.

Keep checking back here at throughout the week as we’ll preview all of the races coming up this weekend at the Iowa Speedway including the Star Mazda Championship, Firestone Indy Lights, and of course the IZOD IndyCar Series.

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