If you attended the IndyCar race in Iowa, there was a lot of sitting and waiting to get into the track and out of the track after the race. The race was a sellout and was a huge success for the series. And, we got our best finish of the season.
The plane landed in Iowa on Friday morning of the race weekend and a flood of memories went through my head from the last time I was here. Did you know that Iowa has more oval tracks than any other state in the United States? They are serious about their racing and the last time I was there was for the Knoxville Nationals.
Friday was an open testing day for us. Saturday was a practice/qualifying day and the race was just after lunch on Sunday afternoon. I really thought we would roll off the track and have a fast package on this short oval. But that just wasn't the case. It seemed like every time I came out to practice again, the car was just a bit different.
I will say that we completely missed it in qualifying. When you go to a new track like Iowa, you don't have any reference points since we had never been there before. So, you have to take some risks and gambles; sometimes they work and sometimes they don't.
When I went to qualify, it just wasn't the car I had earlier in the weekend. We hadn't been loose all weekend but Buddy Rice and I both nearly lost the cars in qualifying. Thankfully the track had pretty good grip so we made it through qualifying. I drove the car sideways for my laps and that really killed our speed.
To start the race, I had a lot of push in the car and we tried to play around with pit strategy. Our pit stops weren't all that great and we've got to all stop making stupid mistakes. We have to work together as a team to minimize these issues. Although I wasn't at all happy with the car, we worked through it, improving our pit stops as the race went on and worked to stay out of trouble.
Some of those crashes were pretty crazy and it seemed the same problems kept happening; people trying to go three and four wide on restarts clearly wasn't working. We finished seventh in the end and we'll take it. It's a good boost to the team heading into Richmond. It's good to come out of Iowa in one piece and we hope to keep improving.
I'm looking forward to going back to Richmond; it should be a very good weekend for us. I grew up on the short tracks of America so Richmond feels like home to me. The people there are very IndyCar friendly and we put on a fantastic show. I've qualified on the front row there twice so I'm really looking forward to getting back on the track at Richmond.
I was in Richmond prior to the Texas race on a promotional tour and heard the track has been revamped so it should be interesting to see how it turns out. Make sure to make it out to the track or, if you're not in the area, check us out Saturday on ESPN under the lights at Richmond Int'l Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Let's hope we best our Iowa finish in Richmond with a top-five, or better yet ...
IRL IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher drives the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing No. 5 Dallara/Honda. She is providing a diary to ESPN.com. For more on Sarah, go to www.sarahfisher.com.