(Photo Credit: IndyCar on Twitter)
IndyCar and Indepedence Day is a combination like no other. A summer shootout in the Mid-West as the stars of the NTT IndyCar Series head to Mid-Ohio. The temperatures may be climbing, but the race for a championship is already at a boiling point as all roads lead to the streets of Long Beach to decide who takes home the Astor Cup. Below is everything you need to know for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Track Facts: The track is a fifteen turn road course that is built in to the natural land scape of Ohio. Measuring at 2.4 miles in length and is also the narrowest circuit on the IndyCar schedule at just 40 feet edge to edge. The track offers a good deal of passing opportunities. Turn One and turn two (The Keyhole), offers drivers the chance to use overtake as they set themselves up for the long back stretch where speeds can be up to 180 miles per hour before the hard right hand braking zone of turn four. The Esses and Thunder Valley offer close side by side racing opportunities as drivers will squeeze each other for every position on the race track.
Event History: IndyCar first came to Mid-Ohio in 1980 with CART coming to the famed race track. They would continue to do so until 2003 when Paul Tracy and Forsythe Racing took the last checkered flag for CART at the track. The race would be revived in 2007 when the Indy Racing League came to town. Scott Dixon got his first win at the race track in 2007. It was his first of six wins there as well. Current winners in the field include Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Colton Herta, and Alexander Rossi
Championship Standings: Top 3
1st: Alex Palou: 349
2nd: Pato O'Ward: -28
3rd: Scott Dixon: -53
2020 Event: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, last year's event was a doubleheader. The Saturday event was dominated by Will Power, who also started on pole. He finished ahead of his Penske teammate Joesf Newgarden. Sunday's race was a bit more competitive as Colton Herta held off teammate Alexander Rossi and gave Andretti Autosport a sweep of the podium with Ryan Hunter-Reay rounding out the top three.
Predictions: As the season has passed the halfway point a few weeks ago, we are starting to see the contenders for the Astor Cup as Palou, O'Ward, Dixon, and Newgarden are considered the favorites from here on out. Newgarden has a lot of work to do and there is still enough time to make up ground. Although it could be too much to handle as the youth movement has come to IndyCar, Palou and O'Ward will not make it easy on the former champions running behind them. Team Penkse still has no wins to write home about so far in 2021. Newgarden and Power are looking for redemption over the past couple of weeks as they are currently the fastest in the stable and will look to give Roger Penske his first trip to victory lane. As for the race, it's hard to go against Scott Dixon at Mid-Ohio as he is the active win leader there. But I am going to take Will Power to break through to victory lane this weekend.
Schedule: (All times EST)
Friday, July 2nd: IndyCar Practice - 2:30 P.M. on Peacock
Saturday, July 3rd: IndyCar Practice - 9:05 A.M. on Peacock
Saturday, July 3rd: IndyCar Group Qualifying: - 12:00 P.M. on Peacock
Saturday, July 3rd: IndyCar Final Practice: - 3:30 P.M. on Peacock
Sunday, July 4th: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (80 laps, 180.64 miles) - Noon EST on your local NBC affiliate