Herta Wins Pole, Ferrucci on Front Row

Colton Herta survived a wet and wild qualifying session to take the pole for Race 2 at Mid Ohio. Yesterday’s pole winner Will Power spun on his out lap, causing a red flag . He will start at the rear of the field.

Jack Harvey spun and crashed into the there’s causing some damage to the rear of the car. Pato O’Ward also spun but his car was not damaged.

Both group sessions were disjointed with red flag interruptions.

Points leader Scott Dixon will start 3rd. Josef Newgarden, who trails Dixon by 76 points, starts 9th.

Starting Lineup coming in a bit.

Power Looks for Mid Ohio Sweep; Dixon Hopes to Extend Lead

Today’s schedule

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Today’s race is on NBC. Make sure to set your recording on the proper channel.

Can Will Power sweep the weekend? I think he has the best chance to win both poles and both races anyone has had his year. Scott Dixon needs to finish ahead if Josef Newgarden today to regain momentum.

Pato O’Ward had a disappointing day yesterday. I hope he can salvage part of the weekend.

Can Andretti Autosport find that little extra today?

I’ll have a brief report post qualifying. My Quick Thoughts will be up tomorrow morning.

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.

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.

Indianapolis 500- Quick Thoughts

 Photo: Chris Jones, Indycar

It is probably a good thing that there was a repeat winner this year. It would have been a shame if a first time winner didn’t get to hear the cheers from the fans as he drove around on his cool down lap.

I hope I never have to watch the race on live television again. The commercials came at inopportune times, Leigh Diffey mentioned the drivers’ kids in the middle of a first place battle, and they seemed behind on every accident. I feel sorry for those of you who have to do this every year. So much was missing.

In his last four Indianapolis 500s, Takuma Sato has two wins and a third place finish. Prior to his first win in 2017, Sato had never finished the race higher than 13th place.

It was eerie seeing the opening ceremonies taking place in an empty track. “(Back Home Again In) Indiana was still emotional.

I agree with Indycar’s decision not to throw the red flag. Lap 200 would have been the only green lap. utter chaos would ensue. The red flag should only be thrown if there can be at least three green flag laps remaining. The attenuator repair would take more than an hour. How many fans don’t NBCSN and would not be able to watch the finish?

I felt the penalty on Rossi was appropriate. I am surprised Sato didn’t get at least a warning for his move on Dixon.

It was a decent race with more passing than I expected. I really enjoyed the final two stints. They had great battles for position. Have to wonder what a green ending would have been like, but races have been shortened by rain with someone charging towards the lead.

It was a rough day for the rookies. Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou looked great early. P{alou crashed and VeeKay had issues in the pits. Pato O’Ward ended as the highest finishing rookie and will probably get Rookie of the Year.

Dixon now has an 85 point lead over Josef Newgarden for the series championship. He is in good shape with seven races left, none of which pay double points.

Dixon is now third on the all time Indianapolis 500 laps led list.

It seems that hat the accidents caused more fire and left more fluid on the track than I remember seeing in a while.

It’s been a while since Team Penske wasn’t a factor in the 500.

Sato improved to sixth in season points. will he stay in the top 10?

It’s Race Day!

After 455 days, the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 begins at 2:30 pm this afternoon. Many will be watching live on television for the first time in Indianapolis. There are several historic events on tap today.

Of course, the the biggest thing is no fans are allowed in for the first time in history. The track has always been open to fans every day cars run, including test days. It will make for a strange atmosphere at the track and on television.

For the first time since 1955, a member of the Hulman-George family will not give the command. Roger Penske will give the command as the Speedway’s new owner. My  understanding is he will begin the command with the word, “Drivers.” I disagree with that, but will reserve further comment until later this week.

For the first time three generations of one family will be on track at the same time. Mario Andretti will drive the 2 seater with Michael Andretti as his passenger. Marco Andretti starts on the pole.

The Schedule:

1 p.m: All Cars on Grid

1:20 p.m: On the Banks of the Wabash”

1:47 p.m: Driver Introductions

2:09 p.m: Invocation – Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

2:10 p.m: Rifle Volley

2:11 p.m: Taps

2:12 p.m.: National Anthem – “Singing Surgeons” Dr. Elvis Francois & Dr. William Robinson

2:14 p.m.: First Flyover – U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

2:14 p.m.: “Drivers, To Your Cars.” – Dave Calabro

2:20 p.m.: “Back Home Again in Indiana” – Jim Cornelison

2:22 p.m.: Second Flyover – U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

2:22 p.m.: Command To Start Engines – Roger Penske

2:30 pm: Green Flag waved by Dan Towris

Of note in the schedule: a rifle volley and two flyovers by the US Air Force Thunderbirds.

This schedule of ceremonies is a nice, compact lead up to engines starting. I hope the Speedway will look to keep it this way in the future. I think the opening ceremonies have gotten way too long.

I hope for a safe, clean race. It’s only 280 days until the 105th running, which I hope fans will be allowed to attend.

The Starting Lineup:

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O’Ward Leads Carb Day

Photo: Indycar, Matt Fraver

Pato O’Ward led an incident free Carb Day practice session as the 33 drivers in the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 completed the final tune up session. Scott Dixon was second, followed by Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato. O’Ward’s teammate Oliver Askew was fifth.

About 150 fans were on 16th street listening to the cars and following along on the video boards.

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In keeping with Carb Day tradition, the fans applauded at the end of the session.

I gained a new perspective just listening to the engines without the visual of the cars. I paid more attention to the sounds, which is hard to do in a packed grandstand. I could tell when a car was on the pit exit road, when they slowed for turn 1 or when they were close to another car. the difference between the two engines was distinct.

It is hard to imagine doing this on Sunday. I know some people plan to, but I will stay home and watch from the comfort of my den, surrounded by racing memorabilia. Since this is the first time I have watched the 500 live on television, I should probably put rookie stripes on my satellite box.

From earlier:

https://thepitwindow.blog/2020/08/21/the-104th-indianapolis-500-past-and-future-meet-before-empty-stands/

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