(image via @Mid_Ohio)
Fireworks may be seen in the night sky this weekend, but just north of Racing Refresh HQ is where sparks will fly and thunder will roar through the valley as the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex. 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericcson holds a slim lead in the championship standings as two of the series best look to close the gap even tighter in the hunt for the 2022 Astor Cup. The last time we saw on track activity it was Josef Newgarden who dominated at Road America as he looks to be gearing up for a possible third series championship. But before he can start getting his hopes up, he has to make it past his Team Penske teammate in Will Power. The dog days of summer are upon us and that means racing in the Rust Belt. Below is everything you need to know for the Honda Indy 200.
Track Facts: The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex is a 13 turn, 2.258 mile circuit that is carved into the natural terrain of the Lexington, Ohio area. Mid-Ohio has many different areas on the track that fans and drivers rave about when it comes to the course. Turn 2, otherwise known as "The Keyhole" will be one of the first main passing opportunities to start a lap. A long straight with a hard braking zone that is off-camber will have drivers test the limits of the car before heading on to the main back straight. That straight leads to a series of esses that each have different corner radius' that will lead to side-by-side racing as the race into "thunder valley". The initial race start will happen on the backstretch heading into turn four for safety concerns
Event History: Open Wheel racing has been coming to Mid-Ohio since 1970 when Formula 5000 raced on the track for the very first time. In 1980, CART/Champ Car made their debut at the series and continues over to the IndyCar Series which has held events at the circuit since 2007. Scott Dixon has been the man to beat at Mid-Ohio as he leads all active drivers with six wins at the event. Joining him as active winners are Newgarden, Herta, Rossi, and Pagenaud.
2021 Event: Joesf Newgarden won the P1 Award in Saturday's qualifying session and led the field to green. Nothing much to write home about until the end of the race as Marcus Ericsson closed the gap on Newgarden but it wasn't enough as he lead 73 of the 80 laps it took to complete the race. For Newgarden, it was his first win of the 2021 season and came on the same day as his team owner, Roger Penske celebrated his 50th season in IndyCar competition.
Marcus Ericsson - 293 points
Will Power - 266 Points
Josef Newgarden - 261 Points
Pato O'Ward - 248 Points
Alex Palou - 246 Points
Scott Dixon - 224 Points
Alexander Rossi - 218 Points
Felix Rosenqvist - 203 Points
Scott McLaughlin - 199 Points
Simon Pagenaud - 197 Points
Weather: With rain chances during the weekend getting no higher than 20% on Friday, expect clear skies and temps in mid to high 80s.
Weekend Schedule: (all times EST)
Friday, July 1st: Free Practice #1 at 3:30 P.M. on Peacock
Saturday, July 2nd: Free Practice #2 at 9:30 A.M. on Peacock
Saturday, July 2nd: Qualifying at 2:45 P.M. on Peacock
Sunday, July 3rd: Warmup at 9:45 A.M. on Peacock
Sunday, July 3rd: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio at 12:30 P.M. on NBC