2011 IndyCar Rd.11--Honda Indy 200 @ Mid-Ohio

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2011 IndyCar Rd.11--Honda Indy 200 @ Mid-Ohio

Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:50 am

With the series' Canadian Swing now complete, the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series return to the 'States and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for round 11 of the 2011 campaign.........

~~Johnny Rutherford(1): 1980
~~Teo Fabi(2): 1983, 1989
~~Mario Andretti(1): 1984
~~Bobby Rahal(2): 1985, 1986
~~Roberto Guerrero(1): 1987
~~Emerson Fittipaldi(3): 1988, 1992, 1993
~~Michael Andretti(2): 1990, 1991
~~Al Unser, Jr.(2): 1994, 1995
~~Alex Zanardi(2): 1996, 1997
~~Adrian Fernandez(1): 1998
~~Juan Pablo Montoya(1): 1999
~~Helio Castroneves*(2): 2000, 2001
~~Paul Tracy*(1): 2002
~~Patrick Carpentier(1): 2003
~~Scott Dixon*(2): 2007, 2009
~~Ryan Briscoe*(1): 2008
~~Dario Franchitti*(1): 2010
*--denotes active IndyCar Series competitor
Last edited by mlittle on Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hometown Leader in Friday Practice....

Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:59 pm


---Friday's lone 75-minute practice session for Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio produced a familiar result as the fastest lap of the day traded hands multiple times in the final moments.

A blend of high ambient temperatures, searing track temperatures above the 130 degree mark and foreign rubber put down during American Le Mans Series practice kept the IndyCar Series from posting times anywhere near Will Power's pole lap of 1:07.199 set last year.

Despite the greasy conditions, local favorite Graham Rahal pushed his No. 38 Service Central car to the top of the list as the checkered flag waved.

“I think our car is pretty good," he said after setting a lap of 1:09.603, almost 2.5 seconds off of Power's best in 2010. "Everybody is hanging on. I felt pretty confident coming into this weekend. I’m definitely pretty pleased with our performance; it’s a perfect way to start the weekend. I think we have a shot [at pole position] and this is a good statement for us.”

KV Racing's E.J. Viso followed Rahal's theme, making a big jump at the checkered flag to take second with a lap of 1:09.652.

Target Chip Ganassi's Dario Franchitti, who held the top spot with just over one minute left in the session, was shuffled back to third by his Ganassi stablemate and the resurgent Venezuelan.

“We’re still working on the car at this point," said Franchitti, whose No. 10 car carries General Electric branding this weekend. "The track wasn’t in great shape and we spent the majority of the session struggling to get grip in the GE car.”

The Scot's lap of 1:09.693 was good enough for third, while Will Power, his main championship rival, ran fourth with a 1:09.719-second lap in the Verizon Team Penske entry.

"It was a pretty good session for the Verizon car,” said Power, the winner two weeks ago in Edmonton. “This track is really physical. That combined with the heat makes this place tough. We have a good starting point after the practice session and we should be good for tomorrow."

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson sat atop the charts on two occasions during Friday's practice, eventually ending up fifth with a lap of 1:09.792.

Newman/Haas Racing's James Hinchcliffe impressed in the Sprott-sponsored No. 06, taking sixth after missing the open test at Mid-Ohio last week. The young Canadian also served as the fastest rookie on Friday, and credited his team and teammate for his pace.

"We started with Oriol’s setup from the test here last week," he said. "Obviously not testing here put us on the back foot a little bit. The car was a little bit of a handful to begin with but I think that was more about the track conditions more than anything. And then as the Firestone rubber went down our car seemed to get better and better with each run."

Scott Dixon made it three Ganassi drivers in the top 7, registering a lap of 1:09.971 while dealing with traffic.

“I think we’re in a good position in the Target car," he said. "The track was a bit slippery today but we just need to get a solid, clear lap without traffic to see what we have in the car tomorrow.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Andretti Autosport team in eighth with a best lap of 1:10.050, and like most drivers, said he was looking forward to better conditions on Saturday.

"It was a short session due to the lack of grip on the racing surface," he said. "We had very few laps. The track was green and the grip level was building every lap. Tomorrow will be the real test. We really can't use much from what we learned today. It is almost like a street circuit as the grip builds throughout the weekend. It has only been like that for the last few years here. I don't know what causes that. It is just a lot different from last week's testing here."

Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top 10, with the Australian managing a spin during the session that left him ninth, while the Brazilian followed close behind Briscoe's 1:10.139 with a lap of 1:10.202.
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Postby mlittle » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:02 am

Honda Indy 200 @ Mid-Ohio Entry List

Oriol Servia, #2 Telemundo-NHR
Helio Castroneves, #3 Penske Truck Rentals
(R)J.R. Hildebrand, #4 National Guard
Takuma Sato, #5 Lotus-KV Racing
Ryan Briscoe, #6 Penske Truck Rentals
Danica Patrick, #7 GoDaddy.com
Scott Dixon, #9 Target
Dario Franchitti, #10 General Electric
Will Power, #12 Verizon Wireless
Vitor Meira, #14 ABC Supply Co.
Martin Plowman, #17 Snowball Express-AFS/SSM
(R)James Jakes, #18 Acorn Stairlifts
Sebastien Bourdais, #19 Boy Scouts of America
Justin Wilson, #22 RollCoater-DRR
(R)Ana Beatriz, #24 Ipringa-DRR
Marco Andretti, #26 Venom Energy
Mike Conway, #27 @Follow Andretti
Ryan Hunter-Reay, #28 Circle-K/DHL
(R)Sebastien Saavedra, #34 Conquest Racing
Graham Rahal, #38 Service Central
E.J. Viso, #59 PDVSA-KV Racing
Ed Carpenter, #67 Dollar General
Alex Tagliani, #77 Bowers & Wilkins
Simona de Silvestro, #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy
Tony Kanaan, #82 GEICO-KV Racing
(R)Charlie Kimball, #83 Novolog-Levemir FlexPen
(R)James Hinchcliffe, #06 Sprotts-NHR
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Dixon On Point At Mid-Ohio

Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:28 am

Scott Dixon, winner of the 2009 Honda Indy 200 race at Mid-Ohio, staked his claim as the man to beat this weekend by setting a blistering lap to claim pole over Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe.

Driving under threatening skies, the Kiwi placed the No. 9 Target car more than a quarter-second ahead of Briscoe with a lap of 1:08.077, leaving no doubt about his goals for tomorrow's race.

"The race is what pays the points and we've put ourselves in a good situation by winning the pole," said Dixon. "Fingers crossed we’ll have a smooth race. It was a hell of a workout out there...I’m a little red at the moment. We got the pole and that’s what counts today. Dario [Franchitti] has been stealing all the fame here. It's nice to get a pole.""

Dixon earned his first pole of the year today, and will now hunt for his first win since the Homestead-Miami race in October of 2010.

Briscoe led the three-car Team Penske contingent with a fast lap of 1:08.335, and like Dixon, hopes to turn his front-row starting position into a victory during the 85-lap race.

“Starting second and winning the race...I like the sound of that," he said. "It feels great. The track was getting faster but I ran out of tire. It’s going to be a good hard race tomorrow.”

Dario Franchitti, the defending race winner, made it two Ganassi cars in the top 3 and said he didn't have the speed to take the pole from his teammate.

“I think I was overdriving a bit," the Scot admitted. "If I’d put a few segments together I think I could have started second.”

While Ganassi cars qualified 1-3, Will Power made it a Team Penske 2-4 with a lap of 1:08.421, just .019.behind Franchitti. The Aussie put on a driving display during qualifying as he wrangled his oversteering his No. 12 machine around the 2.25-mile circuit.

“I’m in the first two rows where I need to be," he said after missing the front row for the second consecutive race. "The car was on edge. I was happy to get fourth with the way it was."

Ryan Hunter-Reay saved the day for Andretti Autosport by qualifying fifth, but after leading the morning practice session, he was clearly expecting a better starting position.

“We’re disappointed, actually," he said. "We really got aggressive with the front-end today and I really couldn’t keep the rear under me. Hopefully we’ll improve on the car in the morning [warmup]."

Sixth went to Graham Rahal, the fastest driver on Friday, and his comments mirrored those of Hunter-Reay.

"I can’t say that I’d thought I’d ever be disappointed to qualify sixth, but I am," he said. "I hope we can have a good run, make it to the finish line and get some good points.”

Despite his disappointment, Rahal helped to put three Ganassi cars in the top 6.

Newman/Haas Racing’s James Hinchcliffe led the rookie contingent and hoped to make it into the Firestone Fast Six, but was pleased with securing seventh on the starting grid.

“We’re just on the outside looking in, but as a rookie it’s not a bad place to be,” said the Canadian. “We knew we were going to be relatively competitive.”

Alex Tagliani followed his form from the second practice session, and lines up eighth in the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.

After the high of scoring earning pole position at the last round in Edmonton, KV Racing’s Takuma Sato was clearly disappointed to set ninth-fastest time.

“I tried everything I could,” said the Japanese driver, who missed most of Friday’s practice session with a broken engine. “We didn’t have enough speed to make it through to Q2.”

Charlie Kimball has been nearly invisible on road and street courses in his rookie season, but made his presence felt in qualifying at Mid-Ohio. Posting the third-fastest lap in his half of the first qualifying group, the Ganassi Racing driver made it into the top 12 and ultimately settled for 10th.

“All credit goes to the team,” he said. “They’ve given me a really good car. The pace of the car today proves we really deserve to be here. When I haven’t gotten it right, [his team] has really supported me so it’s nice to get a top 10 in qualifying for them.”
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Wilson Medical Update

Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:30 am

Doctors have confirmed Justin Wilson suffered damage to his back during the veteran driver's high-speed off on the exit of Mid-Ohio's Turn 1 this morning.

His Dreyer & Reinbold team reported the lanky Brit sustained a compression fracture to his fifth vertebra, forcing the team to retain Simon Pagenaud, who qualified Wilson's No. 22 Roll Coater-sponsored car, to drive in Sunday's Honda Indy 200. Wilson was transported from the track to the local MedCentral hospital in Mansfield, Ohio, where his initial diagnosis was made.

As team co-owner Dennis Reinbold mentioned could happen earlier in the day, Wilson will travel to Indianapolis tomorrow to consult with Dr. Terry Trammel, who is best known for mending a long list of injured Indy car drivers.

Pagenaud, who happened to be spectating trackside, deputized for Wilson and went directly into qualifying without having turned a lap of practice. He will make his second IZOD IndyCar Series start of the year--both for Dreyer & Reinbold--from 18th on the grid in the 27-car field.

"I want to thank Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for giving me the opportunity," he said. "I feel really sorry for Justin, he's a good friend and you never wish for this kind of situation to happen. I'm glad that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing asked me to represent him and the team. I'm pleased that they have confidence in me to do the job. It was a bit of a rush really. I was watching practice in the infield and for the first time I didn't bring my gear, maybe because I don't have an insane mind thinking that someone could get hurt.

"Thank you very much to a lot of the drivers in the IndyCar paddock for helping me and lending me their stuff to use. All in all, the car was really good in qualifications. The work is all down to me now. I think the car is very well setup by Justin and the team. I was a bit cold turkey going in, so I'm pretty pleased with the performance and we were only a tenth off of transferring to the next session. It was good fun out there and the car feels good. It's great to be back in Mid-Ohio."
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Dixon Leads Ganassi 1-2 at Mid-Ohio

Postby mlittle » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:06 pm

Two years ago at Mid-Ohio, Scott Dixon crushed the field to win by 29.7 on the way to his 20th career win. The 30-year-old Kiwi didn't quite match his gaudy stats from 2009, but still managed to dominate the event, coming home 7.6 seconds ahead of his Target Chip Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti.

Compared to the action and contact seen at the previous six road and street course races on the 2011 calendar, the 85-lap Mid-Ohio race was rather processional from start to finish.

When Dixon wasn't leading, he sat in second saving fuel behind Newman/Haas Racing's rookie driver, James Hinchcliffe. In the end, Dixon pulled away from Franchitti by as much as a second per lap as the race drew to a close.

“It was a hell of an effort by Team Target," he said. "A flawless day [and] flawless weekend. For us to have a nice smooth weekend to win pole and the race is nice for the No. 9 side of the team.

"Sorry to make it so boring," he said in recognition of his dominant performance. The win marked the 26th victory of Dixon's Indy car career, and his third at the Ohio track.

Despite leading his teammate for a few hundred feet on a restart, Franchitti had no answer for Dixon on Sunday.

“I couldn’t catch Scott so I was just trying to manage the Firestone Reds. I knew as hard as I could go, I wasn’t going to catch Scott. A great 1-2 by Team Target."

It paled in comparison to the venom and vitriol that came out of Toronto, but Franchitti and Power did manage to make contact once again.

Rounding the top of Turn 5 on the opening lap, Franchitti, who found Power on the inside of the left-hand corner, went around the outside of the Aussie's Verizon Team Penske entry.

Whether it was a case of Franchitti pinching Power on corner exit or Power running wide, the Ganassi driver's left rear wheel hit Power's right front wheel and front wing endplate, giving the Penske driver a bit of a wiggle on the downhill run to Turn 6.

Power had little to say about the contact, although he did tap the no. 10 car from behind moment later.

"Will got into my left rear which got me sideways, but I was able to keep going" Franchitti said of the rather forgettable incident. "It knocked the toe out of alignment a little bit, but that’s all."

The central theme for the race was traction--or rather, a lack of it--as many drivers struggled for grip.

"That’s about as sideways as I’ve seen Indy cars driven in the dry," Franchitti explained.

Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third--just as he did on his fist Indy car visit to the track in 2003, and mirrored the Scot's view on the limited adhesion throughout the race.

"It's definitely the most sideways I've driven these cars except for in the wet," he said with a smile. Hunter-Reay also secured his second podium in a span of three races.

“It felt good at the end; we were pushing Dario," he said. "We're still looking for that first win this season. Good day at Mid-Ohio. Great American race and great turn-out."

KV Racing's strong summer continued as Takuma Sato moved up from eighth to fourth at the finish, and Tony Kanaan made the long haul from 16th to fifth.

"I think it was a very good result," said Sato. "So many dramas happened during the race. Hopefully this will give us good momentum for the next few races."

After two tough races in Canada, Alex Tagliani returned to form with a respectable run to sixth for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, while Marco Andretti, like Kanaan ahead of him and Oriol Servia directly behind him, made the long haul to finish inside the top 10.

Starting 19th, Andretti improved 12 positions to finish seventh, and he now sits sixth in points, just 10 markers behind Servia, who started 20th and crossed the finish line in eighth.

"Not a bad day overall," said Andretti. "We're still struggling for grip with the car, but we came into today ready to fight and that's what we did. The guys did well in the pits and we gained where we could on the track. We salvaged what we could."

Servia was pleased to improve so many positions, but wasn't overly enamored with how his weekend went.

"Starting 20th really makes it hard to pull off any miracles," he said. "Finishing eighth is not too bad but it’s not really what we came here to do. I guess we salvaged the situation; it could have been worse."
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