Newton, IA – July 9, 2016 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) driver Mikhail Aleshin qualified ninth for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. Teammate James Hinchcliffe qualified 22nd.
Aleshin’s two-lap qualifying average of 182.754 made him the fastest Honda of the Verizon IndyCar Series field. The Russian driver was satisfied with his starting position on the inside of row five but track conditions made the qualifying attempt challenging.
“I think we had a decent qualifying run and I’m happy to be the fastest Honda,” said Aleshin. “Top ten is a good position to start tomorrow in the SMP Racing car and the race is very long. It’s going to be very difficult and it’s hard to say what to expect but I think we’ll be okay.”
Hinchcliffe’s four-lap qualifying average of 175.027 was attributed primarily to drawing an early qualifying position, which meant he had to contend with rubber on track from the previous ARCA practice session.
“It was definitely a less-than-ideal day at the office in the Arrow Electronics car,” said Hinchcliffe. “We had some sort of issue in qualifying and I’m not entirely sure what caused it but for the gap in pace that we saw, there’s definitely a major issue.
“We’ll take a look at it and try to diagnose the problem. It’s just unfortunate to start from the back here, especially during a day race, and another bad pit selection for my home race in Toronto. With that said, we can bounce back, it’s something we’ve done before. It’s just going to be about being smart tomorrow and staying out of trouble.”
Sunday will feature two races at Iowa Speedway, starting with the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series. SPM drivers Andrew Negrao, Santiago Urrutia and Heamin Choi will qualify at 12 p.m. ET before competing in the 115-lap competition at 3:15-4:15 p.m.
Later that afternoon, Aleshin and Hinchcliffe will compete in the Iowa Corn 300. The green flag for the 300-lap competition is estimated for 5:40 p.m. ET and fans can catch all the action from the 0.875-mile oval on NBC Sports Network.