The stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series drive their thirteenth event of their 17-race docket this weekend at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Qualifying at the Lexington road course takes place Saturday afternoon and the green flag drops for the 90-lap feature Sunday at 2:42 p.m. Live broadcast coverage can be seen on CNBC.
Current series points leader Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) widened his lead against his opened-wheeled competition by claiming the checkered flag at Toronto two weekends ago. His 464 points currently tops defending series champion Josef Newgarden’s 402 points.
Historically, Mid-Ohio has been considered Dixon’s sweet-spot as he currently holds five career wins at the road course, which is tops in IndyCar history. He last won in Lexington in 2014 and plans to put his knowledge of the 14-turn layout towards his benefit. If he makes Sunday’s field, the race marks his 300th start in IndyCar racing.
“The track has been very special to not only myself but to the team over the years,” said Dixon. “It’s one of those rhythm tracks where if you get in a good groove, then things just take off if everything is working right. You can come from about anywhere to win here as we’ve seen in the past, but it’s a lot easier when you do it from the front.”
Meanwhile, Newgarden (Team Penske) is looking to rebound after a ninth-place finish in Toronto. The defending champ claimed the top prize at Mid-Ohio last year and is anticipating an equal finish this Sunday.
“We ran a really strong race there last year and have had some good luck on road courses this season, so we’re feeling pretty good going into the weekend,” said Newgarden. “It was great for us all to have a weekend off to refocus, but I know the entire No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet team and myself are ready to head back to Mid-Ohio and have a great performance to gain more championship points.
Seven rookies are entered into the event, paced by Robert Wickens (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) who currently sits atop the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings and finished third in Toronto two weekends ago.
“I think our team is building a lot of momentum,” Wickens said. “We’re coming off of three consecutive top-five finishes, as well as back-to-back races in Iowa and Toronto where there was a very strong chance that we could have had both cars on the podium in both races. I’m optimistic that we can hopefully have another strong weekend and keep those top-fives going.
There have been seven different winners in the twelve races thus far so with a road course complexion combined with parity, there is the possibility of a newcomer gaining a podium trip.“
Over the last four years, we have been really strong at Mid-Ohio,” said Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing). “We’ve had great consistency and we finished on the podium last year, which is always special. It’s going to be an important one for us again. I’m excited to get back home.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, August 25 for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Leading up to the event, Arch City Media will be providing weekly coverage of the series to keep local open-wheeled racing fans informed and updated.