Photo from Mid Ohio Sports Car Course
Update on Marti- She is still in hospital and working hard to improve. She began a new treatment yesterday which should yield some results by the weekend. Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts.
Indycar Practice- 2:30-3:15 pm EDT. On Peacock and Sirius XM 205
The Honda Indy 200 (actually 180) has three levels of importance in 2021. As the unofficial start to the second half of the season, the race could determine the shape of the battle for the Astor Cup. Some drivers unsure of their futures are auditioning for 2022, and everyone wants to enter the month long break w]on a positive note.
Alex Palou has a mildly comfortable 28 point lead over Pato O’Ward with Scott Dixon 53 points behind. Some think Josef Newgarden has a chance, but 88 points is a lot to overcome in just seven races. Track position is key at Mid Ohio, with the pole sitter winning four of the last six races here, including both races of last year’s double header. Where the contenders start might determine where they finish in relation to one another.
Felix Rosenqvist returns to his full time seat after missing the last two races after suffering injuries in Detroit Race 1. Rosenqvist is 24th in the point standings with a best finish of 12th at St. Pete. He is thought to be the driver most likely to be looking for a ride next year. Rosenqvist needs seven good performances.
James Hinchcliffe and Ed Jones also need to have solid second halves to retain their seats at Andretti Atosport and Dale Coyne Racing.
Ryan Norman makes his Indycar debut in the 52 car for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR this weekend. Norman is seeking a full time ride this year.
Three Indy Lights drivers have plans to move up in 2022. Kyle Kirkwood, David Malukas, and Linus Lundquist, the htree title contenders, all are good enough to go to Indycar. The Lights champion will have at least three races next year. the other two need a budget. At least one of this trio will probably get a chance at an Indycar race in August or September.
The Wild Card
Santino Ferrucci returns to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Mid Ohio. Ferrrucci has three top ten finishes in his three races this season. Last year for Race 2 here, he earned a front row starting spot with an amazing lap in the rain. He never got to show what he could do in the race after a first lap scuffle with pole sitter Bryan Herta. I look for Ferrucci to be a factor this weekend.
The race at Mid Ohio is usually a processional affair with pit activity determining the outcome. in 2021 we have seen several tracks known for this type of racing spring to life with good racing. There have been some good races here. The last lap of the 2019 event when Felix Rosenqvist chased down and nearly caught Scott Dixon was one of the best laps of racing I’ve seen.
Will the 80 lap distance change strategy? It should allow for more options. I’m not a fan of shortening races, but this might save us from having a fuel saving affair. Full course cautions will also be a factor in strategy. Yellows seem to be occurring at strange times this year.
Scott Dixon did win after starting last in 2014, but qualifying position usually goes a long way toward deciding the winner.
I think we will see a Penske car win at last this weekend. I’m not sure which driver, but Josef Newgarden has been on a qualifying tear lately, but he has lost leads late in the last two races.. Will Power has five poles at Mid Ohio, including Race 1 last year when he went on to win.
Green flag is at 12:05 pm EDT on NBC.