2017 Season Preview

2017 Season Preview

February is here and that means the start of the 2017 racing season is around the corner. New faces in new places are part of “silly season” and a number of off-season moves have shuffled team rosters in both NASCAR and INDYCAR. Newton, Iowa has hosted some of the hottest names in racing over the last decade and helped propel the careers of up-and-coming drivers into the public eye, ultimately leading to future success. Erik Jones, Chris Buescher and Josef Newgarden have all won in central Iowa, and their career paths have led straight to North America’s premier racing series. This storyline has become a familiar one at Iowa Speedway, and led to the creation of our “Stars Are Made Here” moniker.

Here’s a preview of 2017 INDYCAR and NASCAR XFINITY Series lineups, some of which include drivers who launched their careers at Iowa Speedway:

Verizon IndyCar Series

Ed Carpenter Racing
Signed JR Hildebrand for the full-season No. 21 car and it will have Carpenter back in the No. 20 machine for the oval races, including the 2017 Iowa Corn 300 on July 9. Still to be resolved: The driver taking Carpenter’s place on the road courses and street circuits. That was Spencer Pigot last season, but Carpenter said he is in no rush to finalize plans for 2017.

Team Penske
After sweeping the top three spots in the 2016 championship with Simon Pagenaud, new father Will Power, and Helio Castroneves. All this powerhouse team did is strengthen itself by adding 2016 Iowa Corn 300 winner, Josef Newgarden to the stable.

A.J. Foyt Racing
A completely new driver lineup is in place with young hot shoes Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz driving for the team owner who collected more INDYCAR race wins as a driver (67) than anyone in history.

Andretti Autosport
Takuma Sato joined Andretti Autosport and gave the team another fast driver to a lineup that already includes some of the top names in the INDYCAR Series.

Sato joins three-time Iowa Speedway winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 100th Indianapolis 500 winner and Sunoco Rookie of the Year Alexander Rossi and 2011 Iowa Speedway winner Marco Andretti, on the team owned by racing legend Michael Andretti.

Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Stability reigns as 2015 Indy Lights winner at Iowa Speedway Max Chilton, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball all return to the team. The biggest change is CGR’s switch back to Honda power following three seasons with Chevrolet.

Dale Coyne Racing
Sebastien Bourdais, a four-time INDYCAR champion with 35 career wins, returns to the team for which he drove in 2011. Ed Jones brings his 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship and accompanying $1 million scholarship to the team as the second driver. Jones is currently the only Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate confirmed for this season.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Graham Rahal looks to continue the momentum built over the past two seasons as the only full-time driver on the team.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin return. Sam Schmidt would like to field a third entry, but that seems unlikely given the expanded Honda lineup.


William Byron
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie and 2016 Speediatrics 200 winner at Iowa Speedway, steps into the NASCAR XFINITY Series and JR Motorsports as part of a multi-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports. Byron will certainly be one to watch in 2017 – and beyond.

Cole Custer
Former NASCAR K&N Pro Series winner at Iowa Speedway, Custer will drive the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing car in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this season. His talent and aggression on the track bode well for an exciting rookie campaign for Custer

Daniel Hemric
With Richard Childress Racing expanding its NASCAR XFINITY Series camp, the former Brad Keselowski Racing driver will have a chance to flex his muscle in the No. 21 Chevrolet in 2017. Look for his on-track improvements to increase this year.

Spencer Gallagher
Gallagher matched a career-best runner-up finish at Talladega in 2016 behind the wheel of the No. 23 truck. With his seven 2016 NASCAR XFINITY starts increasing to a full-time slate in 2017, expect the consistent seat time to aid Gallagher’s driver development.

Tyler Reddick
The Brad Keselowski Racing driver failed to make the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase field, but he did shake up the game with a Las Vegas win in the midst of the “playoffs.” Reddick’s new ride — the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR XFINITY Series – made three trips to Victory Lane in 2016 with Kyle Larson (two) and Justin Marks (one).