Digging up Jimmy Hoffa in a cornfield in Iowa

Searching for the pole winner in Iowa might be as futile as finding the remains of Jimmy Hoffa

Digging up Jimmy Hoffa in a cornfield in Iowa

Have you heard the latest about Jimmy Hoffa?

Apparently some mob guy, in his last days on this earth, has clued the FBI in about where the long-lost body of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa is located: in a field outside of Detroit, not far from where Hoffa was last seen alive.

Hoffa disappeared in 1977, shortly after doing a stint in prison for various financial faux pas involving the hard-earned pension money of his fellow Teamster union members. A body was never found, despite various tips floated about its whereabouts.

The search for Jimmy Hoffa, with all its twists and turns, is much reminiscent of the qualifying procedure for the Iowa Corn 250 IndyCar Series race this weekend. At some point an official of IndyCar is going to have to figure out where the bodies are, where they'll start on Sunday afternoon, for the annual renewal of this throw-back to the days of sprint cars on dirt.

As close as this correspondent can figure, there will be qualifying on the small (0.875 mile) oval in Newton, Iowa on Saturday June 22nd similar to what is considered the norm for IndyCar: one lap, one time, a spot on the grid determined by descending order of speed against the competition.

Here's where it gets complicated, though: this only applies to the six fastest cars. And it's only for a heat race, which will follow later on the same evening.

The rest of the field is going to be set by the results of even more heat races, in a complicated even-number, odd-number distillation that defies quick understanding.

To make life even more complicated, there is no set qualifying order for the timed lap portion of qualifications. Drivers will pull lots from a hat to determine who goes first, second, and so on to post a time.

Moreover, there are points involved. Here's how assignment of the points works, according to IndyCar press releases: nine points for the pole winner and descending by one point each position to one point for 11th and 12th.

Anyone want to take a stab at explaining that distribution?

According to the FBI's informant, Hoffa was taken alive from a local restaurant and dragged into a car which sped away to the empty field outside Detroit. He was bound and gagged so as to avoid his discovery, whacked several times with a shovel, and then buried alive beneath the concrete slab floor of a barn on the property.

Locals report, from a distance, watching a backhoe working in and around the supposed location of Hoffa's body. They also report several FBI agents digging with hand tools over the same site.

When, and if, Hoffa's body is found it will be a crime scene discovery as curious and fascinating as Jeraldo Rivera's opening of Al Capone's vault.

The Iowa Corn 250 starts at 2:30 PM EDT on Sunday, with live television coverage by NBC Sports and live radio on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway network.

When the cars line up on the grid for the race it will be just as curious to hear how they got there, and how the championship points race stands, because it too will be a discovery as fascinating as the search for Jimmy Hoffa ever was.

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