The stars of the NTT IndyCar Series return to action this weekend as a previously postponed single-race event from August now competes as a doubleheader showcase.
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio has separate 75-lap features at 4 p.m. Saturday and 12:05 p.m. Sunday (St. Louis time) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
The event was originally scheduled as a solo race for August 16 but was postponed due to the pandemic. This past Saturday, the series announced that the event was rescheduled and that the dual-race adjustment expanded their 2020 docket to 14 races.
Following recommendations from state and local health officials, the facility – which has an open seating capacity of 75,000 spectators – stated earlier this week that attendance would be limited to 6,000 maximum per day.
The open-wheeled franchise competed at Madison, Illinois’ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway two weekends ago in a similarly presented pair of Bommarito Automotive Group 500 races in front of a limited audience.
Current points leader Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Josef Newgarden (Team Penske), who currently possess the top two positions in the standings, claimed checkered flags at the Madison oval’s respective races. Dixon currently holds a 416-320 advantage in points with five scheduled races left.
Dixon, the series’ defending champ, won last year’s event at the 2.258-mile street course with a top speed of 115.837 mph. The Kiwi has won four of nine races this season and has six overall career victories at the road course.
“I can’t imagine what it’s been like to try and organize a racing season schedule this year,” said Dixon of IndyCar’s perpetual summer shuffle. “It’s great they (and the track) were able to get it done and to also put together a doubleheader race weekend. We’ve had success here in the past as a team and we hope to continue to build on that this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Newgarden looks to whittle at Dixon’s lead. He has claimed a pair of wins this season and was victorious at the 2017 event.
“I really didn’t want to see an extended break following our win at Gateway,” he said. “With that momentum, (we’re) feeling really dialed in for this weekend’s races. My guys always put together a fast car, and I’m sure that won’t be any different this weekend.”
Another hopeful in the winner’s circle is Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) who currently sits third in the standings. He claimed a pair of podiums at Gateway and is primed for his first-ever victory during his first full-season ride.
“I think it’s going to be a good change for the championship race after having five oval races in a row,” O’Ward said of this weekend’s configuration. “Our objective is going to be the same as it has been the past couple of weeks: qualifying up front and try to score a couple of podium finishes.”
Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) also have solo wins on the season.
Each weekend’s race will have qualifications that take place earlier in the day. Saturday’s race can be seen on NBC Sports Network while Sunday’s race is shown locally on KSDK-Channel 5.
Follow the series at indycar.com.
Arch City Media will have same-day recaps following each race this weekend.