Mid-Ohio Post Race Report
Story posted - Aug 05 2012 6:21 PM
DIXON CONTINUES MID-OHIO MASTERY, WINS FOURTH HONDA INDY 200
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012) - Scott Dixon saved fuel when he needed, kept the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car out of harm's way and took advantage of every opportunity. And his pit crew performed admirably, too.
All told, it led to Dixon winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for the fourth time in the past six years. His 29th victory tied Rick Mears for 10th all time.
Dixon, starting fourth, beat race leader and pole sitter Will Power off pit lane on Lap 57 (their second and final service stop) and went on to lead the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car across the start-finish line by 3.4619 seconds.
In the second consecutive caution-free Indy car road racing since 1987 (Laguna Seca, won by Bobby Rahal; Miami-Tamiami Park, won by Michael Andretti), pit stops were key.
Power, who picked up three bonus points for winning the pole and leading the most laps, regained the points lead heading into the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 as front-runner Ryan Hunter-Reay was running sixth but started to fall through the field midway through the quick race with an engine issue and finished 24th.
Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car, has 374 points. Helio Castroneves, who served a 10-grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change, finished 16th and is third in the standings with 353 points. Dixon remained fourth in the standings but closed from 35 to two points of third place and is 28 points out of the lead.
Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car, posted his fifth top-five finish in his rookie IZOD IndyCar Series season. Sebastien Bourdais was a season-high fourth in the No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing car and James Hinchcliffe, who started 15th, came in fifth.
DAY 3 NOTEBOOK:
A hot afternoon, salsa/chips and some beach volleyball on TV was the right combination for an Olympic Watch Party in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course paddock on Aug. 4.
"I've been watching a lot of the Olympics every night," said Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie driver Josef Newgarden, who started ninth in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. "It's been fun to see how our country's doing, especially since we've been knocking it out of the ballpark."
His favorite spectator sport is swimming.
"I really admire the commitment that each and every one of the swimmers have," he said. "It's been especially cool to see what Michael Phelps has achieved over his career. And now there's other people like Ryan Lochte coming up and I've been watching to see how they do at these Games. I think training for swimming is similar to racing in the total dedication you have to give to the sport in order to compete at that level."
The team displayed Olympic spirit on the No. 67 entry with "Go USA!" on its sidepods for the race weekend.
With Graham Rahal announcing late last week that he's free to pursue options for 2013 after an agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing couldn't be reached by an Aug. 1 deadline, teammate Charlie Kimball is hopeful Rahal will return to the second-year team.
"Graham has been a great teammate and I really hope he finds a way to put a program together to stay because I've learned a lot from him and I hope our relationship between the four of us (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti) continues to grow well into the future," said Kimball, who sat out the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio because of an injured hand.
"I'm keeping the fingers on my left hand crossed that he'll find a way to be back here, and if it's not here then somewhere in the IZOD IndyCar Series because Graham Rahal needs to be in IndyCar racing."
Novo Nordisk and Chip Ganassi Racing announced in November a multi-year extension of its agreement with Kimball driving the No. 83 car. Giorgio Pantano filled in for Kimball at Mid-Ohio.
INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard reiterated his desire for 19 events for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule to build momentum and storylines.
He's pointing to a September release of the schedule that will fall between March and October. The inaugural Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will be run the first weekend in October on a temporary street course on the parking lots near Reliant Stadium. The complex played host to a Champ Car race in 2006 and '07.
Scott Anderson of Belardi Auto Racing won Sunday's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda Race #2 here at Mid-Ohio. It was his first win in the series. Trent Hindman and Matthew Di Leo rounded out the podium.
Spencer Pigot of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing won Saturday's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda Race #1 here at Mid-Ohio. It was his fifth consectuive win in the series and the sixth win for his team this season. Scott Anderson of Belardi Auto Racing was second and Matthew Brabham finished third, after starting 30th in the 30-car field after a post-qualifying technical violation.
Dragon Racing, the IZOD IndyCar Series team owned by Jay Penske, announced today that it has secured a second Chevrolet IndyV6 engine for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and will now be entering two cars at the raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on August 26.
JAY PENSKE (Owner, Dragon Racing): "I am extremely grateful to Chevrolet for making this second engine available so we can return to a full team effort in Sonoma. When we began the season in St. Pete it was our plan to run a full season with both the No. 6 and No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing entries, but due to circumstances beyond our control we had to reduce the effort to one car with the driving duties being shared among Katherine (Legge) and Sebastien (Bourdais). With the team back to full strength we are all really looking forward to competing in Sonoma, the home track for our sponsors and partners, McAfee, Microsoft, and TrueCar."
KATHERINE LEGGE (Driver, No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously I'm thrilled to get back behind the wheel of my TrueCar Chevrolet in Sonoma and also to get the opportunity to test there prior to the race. We're all racers and anytime you have to sit out a race its tough, but we've been doing the best with the situation and hopefully we will be able to get the results we know we're capable of in Sonoma."
SCOTT PAINTER (CEO of TrueCar): "Sonoma is a very important market to both TrueCar and our new partner Virgin, so it was important to have Katherine back behind the wheel as part of our TrueCar Racing Women Empowered Initiative. Our women's initiative racing program is a vital part of the TrueCar fabric and a strong representation of our brand and beliefs. We couldn't be happier to see Katherine back on track in Sonoma and again in Fontana."
HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO PRE-RACE
At 12:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 76 degrees with a relative humidity of 83 percent. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 83 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
12:53 p.m. - Racing legend and Ohio native Bobby Rahal gave the command, "Drivers, start your engines." All cars have started and are rolling on the grid.
HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO RACE RUNNING:
Lap 1: GREEN. The clock starts as #12 Power crosses the finish line. #12 Power leads field out of Turn 2 and to the start line into Turn 3. #18 Wilson spins in Turn 6. #22 Servia on pit lane. Team reports a gear issue.
Lap 3: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by .4811 of a second.
Will Power leads his third consecutive race and for the eighth time in 2012. He has previously lead at St. Petersburg, Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo, Texas, Toronto and Edmonton.
Lap 5: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by .4015 of a second. #67 Newgarden is fifth after starting ninth.
Lap 7: #27 Hinchcliffe, #15 Sato and #38 Rahal on pit lane for four tires and fuel. Pit report: All cars took red tires
Lap 8: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.3274 seconds. #3 Castroneves, #11 Kanaan and #83 Pantano on pit lane for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 9: #5 Viso on pit lane for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 10: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.3682 seconds.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #5 Viso with a drive through for a pit speed violation at pit out.
Lap 13: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.9079 seconds.
Lap 15: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.6658 seconds. #98 Tagliani and #18 Wilson on pit lane for four tires and fuel. Pit Report: #98 Tagliani took reds. #18 Wilson took black scuffs.
Lap 18: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 2.8112 seconds.
Lap 20: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 3.0593 seconds. #78 De Silvestro on pit lane for four black tires and fuel.
Lap 23: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 2.0050 seconds
Lap 25: #12 Power leads #10 Franchitti by 1.4592 seconds. #67 Newgarden, #8 Barrichello and #19 Jakes on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 26: #4 Hildebrand on pit lane for four black tires and fuel.
Lap 27: #10 Franchitti, #77 Pagenaud and #26 Andretti, #28 Hunter-Reay and #14 Conway on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 28: Leaders, #12 Power , #9 Dixon, #7 Bourdais and Briscoe on pit lane for four tires and fuel. #12 Power maintains the lead after the pit stop.
Lap 29: Green flag stops complete, #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .5339 of a second.
Lap 30: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .3337 of a second. Top five separated by 1.97 seconds.
Lap 31: #83 Pantano on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 32: #38 Rahal on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 33: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .4325 of a second. #27 Hinchcliffe and #11 Kanaan on pit lane for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 35: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .3618 of a second. #7 Bourdais is third .9724 of a second behind.
Lap 38: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .4325 of a second. #8 Barrichello on pit lane for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 39: #98 Tagliani, running fifth, on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 40: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .4790 of a second.
Lap 41: #18 Wilson on pit road for four black tires and fuel.
Lap 43: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .5891 of a second.
#12 Power has clinched the two bonus points for leading the most laps.
Lap 45: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .4953 of a second.
Lap 48: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .5101 of a second.
Lap 50: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .6183 of a second.
Lap 51: #19 Jakes on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 52: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .6183 of a second. #4 Hildebrand and #67 Newgarden on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 55: #12 Power leads #9 Dixon by .6438 of a second. Reports on course #28 Hunter-Reay engine sounding sour.
Lap 56: #77 Pagenaud and #2 Briscoe on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 57: Leaders #12 Power, #9 Dixon, #7 Bourdais and #10 Franchitti on pit lane for four tires and fuel. New leader is #27 Hinchcliffe. #9 Dixon beats #12 Power off of pit road.
Lap 58: #11 Kanaan pits from second place for four tires and fuel. #27 Hinchcliffe leads #9 Dixon by 18.3425 seconds.
Lap 59: #27 Hinchcliffe on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #9 Dixon.
Lap 60: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 3.0853 seconds.
Lap 61: #14 Conway and #18 Wilson on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 63: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.2700 seconds. #10 Franchitti has front wing damage after contact with #27 Hinchcliffe on course.
Lap 64: #10 Franchitti on pit lane for new nosecone.
Lap 65: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 1.8138 seconds.
Lap 69: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.3575 seconds.
Lap 72: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.2707 seconds.
Lap 75: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.5531 seconds.
Lap 77: #4 Hildebrand on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 78: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.8075 seconds.
Lap 81: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 3.4500 seconds.
Lap 83: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 2.6964 seconds.
Lap 84: WHITE: #9 Dixon leads #12 Power by 3.9890 seconds.
Lap 85: CHECKERED: #9 Scott Dixon has won the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for the fourth time in the last six years.
HONDA INDY 200 POST-RACE NOTES:
SCOTT DIXON - TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING
Fourth win at Mid-Ohio. Previously won in 2007, 2009 and 2011
Second win of the season; Won at Belle Isle earlier this season
This is Scott's 29th career Indy car win, tying him in for 10th all-time with Rick Mears
Sixth podium finish of this season (St. Pete, Barber, Indy, Belle Isle, Iowa, Mid-Ohio)
Remains fourth in the Championship, but is 28 points behind Will Power in the point standings
WILL POWER - TEAM PENSKE
Matched best finish of second at Mid-Ohio in 2010, both races Power started from the pole
Clinched three bonus points this weekend for pole and most laps lead
Three wins this season (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo)
Fifth podium finish of the season (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo, Edmonton, Mid Ohio)
Takes over the championship points lead by 5 over Ryan Hunter-Reay
SIMON PAGENAUD - SCHMIDT HAMILTON MOTORSPORTS
Third podium finish of the season (Long Beach, Belle Isle, Mid-Ohi)
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): ""Well you know I think it definitely helped we had an open pit and Will had to come around us and which I think if you look at the replay I hit the marks before he even did, that's just how it goes now and then. Everyone thought we would be pitting at the exact same time and same place on the track so I got a good in. The guys in the crew did a fantastic time plugging in the fuel and getting the tires changed, big credit to them. Its just one of those perfect moments. Got the jump on him out of the pits and the rest was certain." (On the points...) "Twenty-eight points is easy. We gained thirty odd points just on first place today. For us thats big momentum. Big momentum. We are going into three tracks that we can for sure do well at. And I think that we will do well at. We definitely have the crew to do it. Fingers crossed that we can be in the hunt and stay in the hunt until the last race."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "These are such tight pit boxes here and he (Dixon) had a clean in. We had a tight in so some of that was me getting in. It's hard for the fuel to get in clean because he has to step back from my front wing to swing in. Still it's a very good points day. We're happy to get the Verizon car on the podium. We'll keep chasing after it, we'll get a win here soon and keep going after that championship."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "I didn't think he (Bourdais) would be that close actually on the braking but I went in really deep and he couldn't make it so it was just enough. We were close on fuel. I was saving heaps of fuel on that last stint to finish the race. The car was so good the reds (tires). It was just awesome. It was a really good race, so thanks the HP guys. We made a big, big step forward this weekend and it will be good for Sonoma."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a really good run. The car was really fast. There was a lot of fuel saving, but we're pulling it off. I think we could have dared it a little bit more. Both times we could have made it a lot further, and I think that would have been the hot ticket. But, you don't want to be the last one out there if they pull out the yellow and close the pits for any reason. That was a good race, the car was good. We needed the points finish. As much as I wanted to be on the podium, we will take P4 any day."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "That was probably the toughest race of the year running flat out every lap at this track. I think I had more fun than anyone but (Scott) Dixon. It was like a qualifying lap every lap. We ran some good lap times and I'm just happy to bounce back after what happened in qualifying (qualified 16th)."
GIORGIO PANTANO (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "I want to thank the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew because they just gave me a perfect car today. Unfortunately, I need to learn more about the car. I think I need to shake out a few things but I did as much as I could today."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "I'm disappointed we didn't finish in the top-10 or get a top-five, but overall the Service Central guys worked really hard and I'm glad to bring the No. 38 Honda home in one piece. Today we didn't make any mistakes and it feels good. It was definitely a tough race - very physical. I certainly pushed very hard to catch the guys in front of us, but we lost too much time in some of the traffic. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the finish."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I am pretty happy even though we didn't get the result we wanted. The car was decent. We had the pace of the front pack and with the strategy we had, without question, we could have finished in the top-seven or eight. I am happy for Tony (Kanaan) that he was able to make it to the front. We were pretty much racing together. Unfortunately, I was penalized for a pit speed violation and I got a drive through penalty. It was a tough race and without any yellow flags we never got the opportunity to recover the gap to the pack I was running with. I think we learned a lot this race, so in that way it was very useful and now it is on to the next one,"
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am pretty happy even though we didn't get the result we wanted. The car was decent. We had the pace of the front pack and with the strategy we had, without question, we could have finished in the top-seven or eight. I am happy for Tony (Kanaan) that he was able to make it to the front. We were pretty much racing together. Unfortunately, I was penalized for a pit speed violation and I got a drive through penalty. It was a tough race and without any yellow flags we never got the opportunity to recover the gap to the pack I was running with. I think we learned a lot this race, so in that way it was very useful and now it is on to the next one,"
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics- KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am very happy with today's result. The car was very good in the race. We went with a three stop strategy and despite no yellow flags we made it work. It was a very physical race with no cautions. Now we have to build on this over the last few races."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ""We did a lot of work for very little reward today. We got unlucky with our strategy. That's really all that hindered us today. I thought we had a very strong car and we turned out really strong laps. Unfortunately we just couldn't seal the deal at the end because we had to pit for more fuel when the leaders stayed out."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Wow, another green to checkered run today. It makes for long races for us. Qualifying at the back (of the field) is difficult for anyone to move up without a yellow or two. We were off pace in qualifying but our pace was much better in the race. We were able to run some pretty consistent laps in the middle of the race. There was a difference between the red tires and the black Firestones today. We are encouraged that our race pace was better. I think I need to do a better job in qualifying. We need to start up in the field better. These cars are more durable and the attrition rate isn't as high now as in previous years. I was surprised there was no full course yellow period, especially in the early laps. But you can bang on each other with these cars and get away with it. So qualifying badly doesn't make for a lot of chances to improve in the race. We did learn some things today that we can put to use at Sonoma in a few weeks."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): ""We were positioned pretty well just past halfway. We were catching the leaders while still taking easy and saving fuel. I think we were a third-place car at the worst. Then, the engine just started losing power and it just gradually got worse the longer we tried to run. It finally just gave up there at the end. It died a slow death." (About points): ""It's disappointing to start the day with a 23-point lead and leave in second place, but we'll get over this quick. There's a lot of racing still to go, and the only thing we can do is dig deep and move on. I think it's going to be a good championship fight, but you can't have any more days like this. I'm confident we're going to be right in it until the finish - it's certainly do-able for us to win it all."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): ""My car was pretty good in the middle of the race on (Firestone) Reds. We lost some track position at the start of the race on the used Red tires. Because of all the rain, the track was really green at the start, and I think the new Reds were the ticket on a green track. The second half of the race, we were really able to do some decent lap times, and we pushed hard to get by (Ryan) Briscoe. But, with three laps to go, I had to back off to save fuel and we came up a bit short. He caught me perfect on the last lap- he was able to push all-out - and he was able to get by."
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 GE Reveal Honda): "It's a tough day for the GE car. Obviously, it's great that Scott won in the Target car but I just made a mistake. I drove into the back of Hinchcliff. I just misjudged how long the nose of the car was. It's totally my mistake. We had to come in and change it. So that was really our day. I think up until that we were struggling a little bit to make fuel mileage but at the end of the day it's my fault."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinishes Team Penske Chevrolet): ""We had a pretty solid day in the PPG car and getting Marco there on the last lap to get seventh made for a decent finish. With the fuel saving strategy, which the Chevy engine did a great job of, it made for a strange race. Overall it goes back to the first lap where we got out of the top five and shuffled back a few positions and we did what we could from there to make it a good day."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "The Penske Truck Rental boys did a great job with the pit stops today. Certainly it was a day where we ended up taking a big hit in our race for the championship as starting in the back with an engine change created a big challenge. But we need to just keep going and hopefully we can have a strong race out in Sonoma."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "It was a tough race. It was a big weekend for us and everyone really worked hard but unfortunately we didn't have the pace that we needed. We started with good balance in the stint. It looks like such a narrow window for the sweet spot. It looked a little better in the middle stint but we lost the grip in the end. We overtook a couple of people but also lost some places. In the end we got a couple of positions but it was not enough. I look forward to the Sonoma test so we can get a better understanding of the road course configuration."
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 26 at the raceway in Sonoma. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM Channel 94 (XM) and 211 (Sirius)