Hunter-Reay Leads Practice

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the only practice session for the Honda Indy 200 with a time of 1:06.3034. The practice period was the strongest for Andretti Autosport fr vers since the Indianapolis 500. Will Power was second and Alexander Rossi finished third. Points leader Scott Dixon was fourth.

The top seven

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Mid Ohio- Busy Day for Indycar

Good morning from the Mount Vernon media center annex. Six races are on tap today, four for the Road to Indy, one for Mazda MX5 Cup, and the first practice for Indycar, followed by qualifying for the first Indycar raceof the weekend. The 75 lap event is on NBCSN at 5 pm Eastern

Today’s schedule (All Times Eastern)

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Mid Ohio Preview- Fitness, Pit Stops, Position

Rounds 9 and 10 of the NTT Indycar Series are set for Mid Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend. The races will be the fourth doubleheader weekend of this strange year. Just getting to 10 races in this season of postponements and cancellations is an accomplishment. The series has three more events left on its 2020 schedule.

The race will have an audience of up to 6,000 fans. The State of Ohio approved that number. The track requested the state to host a bit over 9,000 fans. The NFL Browns and Bengals were each allowed 6,000 fans for their first two games. 6,000 spectators should be able to distance easily at Mid Ohio if not everyone sits in the popular esses area.

The two 75 lap races will be on two different networks. Saturday’s 5 pm Eastern start is on NBCSN, and Sunday’s 1 pm Eastern green flag is on NBC. Here are some things to look for this weekend.

Physical Fitness

Mid Ohio is one the more physical tracks on the Indycar circuit. One 90 lap race, the usual distance, wears a driver out. Sunday’s race could come down to who is the most physically fit. The veterans know how to prepare for what is essentially and endurance weekend. Will the fittest driver win on Sunday? If fitness is the key for day two, look for Simon Pagenaud or Tony Kanaan to do well. The rookies have youth on their side, which should help them over the weekend.

Pit Stops

This has been a season of pit errors. No team has been immune. Mid Ohio has had some notorious pit mistakes that have cost drivers victories. Josef Newgarden was on his way to his first Indycar win when the crew called him at the last minute. The team was as shocked as Josef at the call. he pulled into an unprepared pit. the disastrous stop resulted in a drive through penalty which cost him the race.

Mikhail Aleshin had the race in hand until an unsafe pit release caused a collision with another car, ruining his day.

Pit and tire strategy nearly cost Scott Dixon the win last year. He barely hung on to beat teammate Felix Rosenqvist.

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Scott Dixon leads Felix Rosenqvist in the closing laps of the 2019 MidOhio Honda Indy 200.

Track Position

Mid Ohio is not known as a track where passing is easy. Qualifying and track position is key here. Pit strategy in what should be a two stop race each day will also play into who is at the front. If the second stop is late enough, a full fuel load may not be needed, which could help a driver pick up spots on track.

Passing has been difficult everywhere this season. The different starting times may also play a role in how much passing occurs. Will the late Saturday start and cooler track temperatures help the racing for Race 1?

Spotter’s Guides-

https://thepitwindow.blog/2020/09/09/mid-ohio-spotters-guides/

Dixon Takes Another Step Toward Title Number 6

I think Scott Dixon will win one of the races and leave mid Ohio just a short step away from his sixth Indycar title. A nother victory will put him within one of tying mario Andretti for second place on the career win list.

My prediction for the other race- Pato O’Ward will get his first Indycar victory from the pole. O’Ward has been knocking on the door of the top step of the podium and this weekend, this key finally opens the lock.

If you are going to Mid Ohio, please review the track’s protocols at

https://midohio.com/covid19.

Jimmie Johnson to Ganassi Indycar for Road and Street Races

Photo via Jimmie Johnson”s Twitter

Seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson announced a  two year deal today with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive Indycar’s road and street course races. The agreement is dependent on obtaining sponsorship. Johnson may be open to driving in the 2022 Indianapolis 500 as well.

Johnson will be on the same team as five time Indycar champion Scott Dixon, who might be a six time champion by the time the 2021 season begins.  Adding Johnson to CGR brings up several questions.

Will Ganassi field four cars at road/street events? Will Johnson’s road/street car also appear at the ovals with a different driver. giving Ganassi four full time cars?

I always like drivers crossing over from other series, and to see another series champion come over for two thirds of a season is huge. Should Scott McLaughlin enter the series full time for Penske next year, Indycar would have champions from two other major series racing on most weekends.

Johnson may bring a few more fans to the series at first. We will need to wait to see if his joining Indycar will have any long term effect on raising viewership.

6 Thousand Fan Limit for Mid Ohio

A news release from Mid Ohio a few minutes ago:


After working with the Ohio Governor’s office and local health officials to confirm a reschedule date, INDYCAR and Green Savoree Racing Promotions have released the details and protocols for limited spectator attendance at The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course set for this weekend, September 11-13.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that a variance to the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order has been granted for a total up to 6,000 spectators to attend. Currently purchased event tickets and Mid-Ohio Season Race Passes will be valid for entry. A very limited number of tickets remain for sale at midohio.com on a first come, first serve basis. No tickets will be available for purchase at the gate during the race weekend.
“We greatly appreciate Governor Mike DeWine’s leadership and support in granting the variance to the sports order to allow a limited number of spectators to attend The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this weekend,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions. “Our team would also like to thank Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Interim Health Director Lance Himes and Morrow County Health Commissioner Stephanie Bragg for their guidance and time to review our plans.” 
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be a doubleheader weekend for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with 75-lap races on both Saturday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 13, on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in Lexington, Ohio. NBC Sports coverage of the doubleheader weekend will begin Saturday with Race 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and continue with Sunday’s Race 2 coverage on NBC at 1:00 p.m. ET. Practice and qualifying sessions will be available for live streaming on NBC Sports Gold. 
“We’re looking forward to an exciting NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Green Savoree has been an outstanding partner throughout this process, working diligently with the Ohio Governor’s office to ensure the right protocols and procedures are in place to host a limited number of spectators,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp. “Our doubleheader will provide an action-packed and thrilling experience for fans on site and viewers tuning in via NBCSN on Saturday and NBC on Sunday.”
In accordance with Ohio’s statewide mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is required to wear facial coverings while indoors or outdoors on Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course property. All spectators will enter the facility through Gate 1. They will also be subject to a temperature check and health screening upon entry. The CDC’s recommended guideline of at least six feet of social distancing must be maintained while on property.
Limited tickets are available online only on a first come, first serve basis. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate.
“It’s exciting to open our gates to fans again this weekend. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is one of Ohio’s premier annual events,” said Craig Rust, president of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. “For those who attend, we ask for everyone’s cooperation and adherence to all the COVID-19 protocols which will be in place to make this a great weekend for us all.”
Fans should visit midohio.com/covid19 for more information on the essential health and safety protocols and social distancing procedures. Additional answers to common questions can be found at midohio.com/covid19faq as well as information for those who had purchased grandstand seats, paddock and pit passes since these areas will be closed during The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Update: Mid Ohio to Allow Fans for Indycar Double Header

Mid Ohio Ticket holders received the following email this afternoon:

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I’m surprised that anyone who has previously purchased a ticket will be allowed in, and that the state did not impose a crowd limit. The Bengals and Browns received a 6, 000 fan limit for their opening games. With no grandstand seats available, that pushes everyone into the infield.

The link to their covid page shows the standard protocols with temperarture checks upon entry an

The track will send additional spectator information Tuesday.