By Steve Wittich

Don’t forget that the Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires race rolls off at 11:15 AM. Check the bottom of this post for ways to follow all of the action during the 100 lap race.

The four Andretti Autosport cars led the way during qualifying, and the starting line-up is as follows:
1 – Patricio O’Ward
2 – Colton Herta
3 – Ryan Norman
4 – Dalton Kellett
5 – Santi Urrutia
6 – Aaron Telitz
23 – Victor Franzoni

Every one of the drivers that we chatted with yesterday, said that qualifying didn’t matter on the 0.894-mile “bullring.” That fact was proven out last year when the podium started in 10th, 11th and 5th.

That being said, most drivers told TSO Ladder that they didn’t concentrate on qualifying during the first and only practice session. The race car they’ll need for the race is very different than the car they’ll need to be successful for the race.

“The race car is going to be totally, totally different; Aero and everything,” explained Patricio O’Ward after qualifying. “Tomorrow we’re just going to have to see how the race car is, but I hope it’s good and I’m sure it’s going to be.”

“I think if you can save your rear tires for the end, that’s what is going to give the advantage to people if they did it right. If they didn’t (nail the set-up) they are going to go straight to the back.”

O’Wards championship-leading teammate Herta, who is starting alongside of him agreed, telling TSO Ladder: “It’s a bit of an unknown here because it (tire degradation) is massive here, but I think we have a pretty good race car.”

Telitz, who will start on the outside of row three, told TSO Ladder that multiple lanes are available at both ends of the track and figuring out where your car is more comfortable will be the key to keeping your rear tires underneath you for the entire 100 laps.

A pair of Andretti Autosport experiment with different lines during Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires practice at Iowa Speedway (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

With 50% more points on offer, the difference between first and seventh is 24 points, making today’s just a little more critical. A win by O’Ward could move him past Herta or bring Urrutia and Franzoni within striking distance.

Don’t miss any of the action:

The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race will air on NBCSN at 11 PM (ET) tonight.