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Qualifying heat races have long been a staple of short-track racing on lower levels. In fact, perhaps the most popular and well known dirt track in the world, the Knoxville Raceway, is a short ride from Iowa Speedway.

But some drivers expressed concern that heat races would increase the chance their equipment would be damaged. There weren’t any incidents though, as the cars had more room to pass and cleaner air to drive through because there were a lot less of them on the track.

“It was like a little bit of a practice instead of an actual race, and people seemed to behave a little bit better understanding that,” Castroneves said.

Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso were all penalized 10 spots on the starting grid for unapproved engine changes prior to qualifying, and Simon Pagenaud will also move back 10 spots after changing out his engine.

Though it’ll certainly hamper their chances, recent history suggests they’ll have room to maneuver Saturday night.

Kanaan won in 2010 after starting 15th, and Andretti moved up from 17th to win in 2011, a victory that broke a five-year drought.

Rahal won his heat from green flag to checkered, finishing over 6 seconds ahead of the field, and Kanaan won the second heat by over 3 seconds.

Rahal will start 20th, while Kanaan will start 19th.

Some suggested that all three heats would have benefited if Rahal and Kanaan had earned a spot in the final one by winning their races. That’s a concept Bernard didn’t dismiss.

“I think there needs to be points and money. I think it gives a little more incentive. And possibly take the winner from the first two heats and bring them into the last heat,” Bernard said. “How we qualify for those heats might be something we take into consideration as well.”