Can Anyone Stop Scott Dixon at Mid-Ohio? [Honda Indy 200 Live Thread]
The man of the hour remains Scott Dixon. The Kiwi has won the last three races, the 400 miler at Pocono and both races in the doubleheader at Toronto. As such, he has raced to 2nd in the championship and sits just 29 points back of Helio Castroneves. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, Mid-Ohio is Dixon's best track. He's won this race the last two years, 3 of the last 4, and 4 of the last six. However, he is not on the front row. He'll only start third.
On the pole is Ryan Hunter-Reay, who benefited from a call in qualifying to use scuffed reds in an earlier session, leaving a set of sticker reds for the Firestone Fast Six. Hunter-Reay had a bad weekend in Toronto and sits 69 points back. He needs a win to get back in the title hunt. Alongside Hunter-Reay is Will Power, who is still searching for his first win of the season. With Dixon third, the rest of the Firestone Fast Six are Marco Andretti, followed by the other two Ganassi cars: Charlie Kimball (a fine job after a practice crash necessitated going to the backup car) and Dario Franchitti. Helio, for his part, is starting back in 14th and will need to find something to get to the front and protect his points lead.
Mid-Ohio is one of the most challenging road courses in America. Unfortunately, that will likely mean that passing will be at a premium, and pit stops and pit strategy will be very important. The corners and evaluation changes do make it picturesque though.
Mid-Ohio for whatever reason usually sees multiple driver changes, and this year is no exception. Oriol Servia is back in the #4 Panther Racing National Guard car, as Ryan Briscoe continues to heal from a broken wrist suffered at Toronto. Briscoe in fact will be in the TV booth today with Leigh Diffey and Townsend Bell. The latest driver of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car is James Davison. Davison ran Indy Lights in 2008 and 2009, winning twice and finishing 2nd in the 2009 championship. This is his first IndyCar start. Also making his first IndyCar start is Luca Filippi, who will drive the #98 Barracuda Racing car. The team has let go Alex Tagliani and are exploring their 2014 options. Filippi has extensive experience in the GP2 Series, and finished 2nd in the championship in 2011. Although he's starting last due to a mistake in qualifying, he's shown speed.
The broadcast has already started on NBC Sports Network, with green flag scheduled for 3:40. Timing and scoring can be found here, and More Front Wing's Event Summary can be found here. Q it up here throughout the Honda Indy 200.