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“I could not forget his birthday, especially to be at this track where he was very good,” said Tony Kanaan, a close friend of Wheldon’s. “It is a sweet coincidence having a race weekend on his birthday at a place he liked so much. Hopefully we’ll make him proud and wish him a happy birthday wherever he is.”

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SPARKPLUGS: Dario Franchitti earned the pole for the race in Iowa, the 28th of his career and the second in a row, after winning the last of three heat qualifying races. Marco Andretti, who won at Iowa Speedway in 2011, qualified a season-best third…Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan were each penalized 10 spots on the starting grid because of unapproved engine changes, but the new engines allowed each to win a heat race prior to Franchitti…The Indy Lights race, scheduled to start just prior to the IndyCar event, was pushed back because of delays caused by storms that blew through central Iowa.