2024 Iowa Race Report

The 2024 Iowa race report has some edgy tires, a disaster for both Kyles and the first win of the season for defending champion Ryan Blaney. So let’s get to it!

Caution- and Lead-O-Gram

We start the 2024 Iowa race report off with an overview of the race, as shown by the caution-/lead-o-gram.

The lead and caution-o-grams for the 2024 Iowa race report show Blaney's dominance.


This was the first Cup Series race at Iowa, so the eight cautions set a record. There were:

  • 4 accidents
  • 2 tire issues
  • 2 stage-end cautions

I separated out the tire issues when a crash or spin was due to the tire going down. Tires were the big story, with five drivers experiencing tire problems in practice after only 20 laps of racing.

The tire issues you see in this graph barely reflects the magnitude of the problem. Seven other tires either blew, or were suspicious enough to make the driver take an unscheduled pit stop.

Drivers who had tire issues during the race:

  • A.J. Allmendinger – took him out of the race
  • Chris Buescher – late in the race while running top-ten
  • Kyle Larson – pit from the lead when he radioed that he suspected he had a tire going down after contact from Blaney. Larson wanted to stay out, crew chief Cliff Daniels wanted him to come in. He came in and they didn’t find any significant tire damage.
  • Michael McDowell had two tire issues
  • Zane Smith had one
  • Ross Chastain had an issue
  • Erik Jones had two tire problems.

Larson thought he had tire damage from contact. But if you look through the other six drivers who had problems, they’re all from second- or third-tier teams. The majority of the top-tier teams learned enough from Friday practice to avoid having those issues.

Lead Changes

There was a good amount of passing, with 12 green-flag passes for the lead according to NASCAR. My analysis shows that there were:

  • 5 lead changes made on restarts
  • 4 green-flag passes
  • 7 lead changes when the leader pit
    • 4 under yellow
    • 3 under green
  • 1 lead change on pit road under yellow.

That last pit-road pass allowed Blaney to jump Josh Berry for the lead. Blaney never gave up the lead, although William Byron challenged late. Byron just didn’t have the speed to get there in the number of laps left.

Laps Led

Ten different drivers led. Blaney led the most laps with 201. Kyle Larson led the second-most number of laps: 80. Josh Berry led 32, a great showing for one of the four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers looking for a ride for 2025. No one else led more than 16 laps.

A Bad Day for Kyles

Larson seemed to have the car to beat until his team called him in to double check on a suspicious tire. There was nothing wrong with the tire, but Larson had to make his way through the field again — which he did rather easily.

His team tried to repair the car and sent him back out with essentially no right rear brake. The RR brake line broke and the team simply crimped it off. NASCAR didn’t find this repair adequate. The No. 5 team re-emerged after going to the garage and finished in 34th place, 35 laps down.

The team could go to the garage and come back because they met minimum speed on track first.

At least Larson finished the race. Kyle Busch wasn’t so lucky. I wrote about his career record losing streak, which now stands at 38 races. Busch just cannot seem to catch any kind of a break. Caught up in the same crash that got Larson, Busch ended up cutting a serpentine belt and thus had no cooling water in the car. He finished 35th.

The Winner

No. 12 crew chief Jonathan Hassler made the call to go with two tires on the last pit stop. He admitted wondering if he’d lost the race right there when hardly anyone else went with two tires.

For me, definitely nervous. To go out there on two tires, really not have a lot of guys that are on two tires, you know at some point those guys are going to be a little bit better than you are.
I was just hoping that it was really late in the run. Yeah, very nervous. — Jonathan Hassler

The field better watch out. Winning really ups Blaney’s confidence. The team was happy with his performance at Sonoma last week as well. One of their goals was to ramp up earlier than they did last year. They’ve succeeded admirably.

That’s your 2024 Iowa race report. See you next week reporting live from New Hampshire!

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