This weekend Indycar begins the start of its final stretch of races. And by stretch, I mean really stretched out. After this race, only three races plus the completion of Texas remain. Pocono, the next race, is three weeks away. The season ends seven weeks from this weekend.
Mid-Ohio was my first road course race in 2008. This will be my seventh race here, the most at any track outside IMS. I really like this track for a lot of reasons. It is in a beautiful rural settting. There is constant on track action. The tram system makes it easy to get around. I even enjoy that it is still lacks some of the newer things that other tracks have installed for fan comfort.
Race day crowds are consistently large as you can see from the photo above of last year’s race. I feared a steep decline in attendance when IMSA left, but I haven’t really noticed much difference. I enjoy watching from the esses (above). Turn 4 is actually the first racing turn as they start on the backstretch.
Last year was my first trip to Mid-Ohio that was totally rain free. It doesn’t appear we’ll be that lucky again. At my first race, it rained just before the race. The rooster tails on the first few laps were spectatcular. The spray hung in the air for several seconds. I hope it does rain a bit during or right before the race starts. Tire strategy becomes more interesting in that situation.
Indy Lights has a weird history in my time here. In 2008, two drivers collided and ended up near the inside fence at turn 5. They got out of their cars and punches were thrown. Never heard from either of them much after that. I’m not sure which year, but the leader pulled into the pits on the last lap before taking the checkered flag, handing the victory to the very surprised second place driver. Last year in Race 1, the leaders decided to play a game late in the race to see who could make the most mistakes. R C Enerson won the race after riding around fourth or fifth all day.
This race could help determine if Scott Dixon has a legitimate shot at catching Simon Pagenaud for the championship. This has been a good track for Dixon. I don’t expect that to change. this weekend. Qualifying has been important here in the past, although the last two years pit strategy has determined the outcome. Dixon won from starting last in2014; Rahal won from thirteenth last year.
Enjoy the race. Remember for those of you playing at home, it’s on CNBC at 2pm Sunday with a re-air on NBCSN at 5.