Photo Credit: IndyCar
The 12th race out of 16 scheduled races of the 2016 Verizon Indycar Series campaign takes us to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on Sunday, July 31st. The indycars will race 90 laps around the 13-turn 2.258-mile natural terrain road course.
Simon Pagenaud leads the Verizon IndyCar Series points championship after finishing in 2nd place in both the 1st and 2nd races of this season in St. Petersburg and Phoenix as well as at Belle Isle, and winning in Long Beach, Alabama, and Indianapolis (Grand Prix). Other race winners from earlier this season are Will Power, who won at the 2nd Detroit race, Road America, and Toronto, Scott Dixon, who won at Phoenix, Josef Newgarden, who won last week at Iowa, Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500, Juan Pablo Montoya, who won at St. Petersburg, and Sebastien Bourdais, who won at the 1st Detroit race. Those drivers sit 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 13th, and 14th in the championship standings, respectively.
Former winners of the Mid-Ohio race in this year’s field (with the year(s) they won in parenthesis) are Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Helio Castroneves (2000 and 2001), Charlie Kimball (2013), Scott Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014), and Graham Rahal (2015).
Also of note is the Chevrolet vs. Honda battle. Drivers of the Honda-powered cars have seemed to race slightly better than they’ve qualified so far this year, but have only won 1 of the 11 races thus far this season, that being Alexander Rossi at the Indianapolis 500. This win showed, however, that they are indeed very strong and can be competitive, and it gives them a lot of momentum moving forward. James Hinchcliffe, driving a Honda-powered car, started from pole in the Indianapolis 500. It was Honda’s 1st pole since 2014 in race 1 of the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader. Drivers of Chevrolet-powered cars had taken 30 consecutive pole positions since then. The drivers of the Honda-powered cars were also very strong at Texas Motor Speedway, running 1st, 2nd, and 3rd when the race was suspended at 71 out of 248 laps, and taking the pole for that race as well with Carlos Munoz.
Honda appeared to be closing the performance gap to Chevy over the final stages of the 2015 season, but Chevy has come out and dominated to start off this season, winning 10 of the first 11 races. However, Honda seemed to make some strides at Alabama, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis 500, getting Graham Rahal to 2nd place at Alabama, placing 8 of the top 13 cars at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and sweeping the top 2 positions at the Indianapolis 500. They also placed 4 cars in the top 7 and 7 in the top 12 in Race #1 of the Dual in Detroit, and ran well at Texas before the race was suspended. However, the drives of the Chevrolet-powered cars have dominated over the past 3 races, sweeping the top 2 spots at Road America, the top 4 spots at Iowa, and the top 2 spots at Toronto.
Drivers to watch for (with engine manufacturers):
Scott Dixon (Chevrolet): Dixon won at Mid-Ohio in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014.
Helio Castroneves (Chevrolet): Castroneves won at Mid-Ohio in 2000 and 2001.
Juan Pablo Montoya (Chevrolet): Montoya won at Mid-Ohio in 1999.
Will Power (Chevrolet): Power’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 2nd, which was in 2010 and 2012.
Sebastien Bourdais (Chevrolet): Bourdais’ best finish at Mid-Ohio is 2nd, which was in 2014.
Simon Pagenaud (Chevrolet): Pagenaud’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 2nd, which was in 2013.
Graham Rahal (Honda): Rahal won at Mid-Ohio in 2015.
Charlie Kimball (Chevrolet): Kimball won at Mid-Ohio in 2013.
James Hinchcliffe (Honda): Hinchcliffe’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 3rd, which was in 2014.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda): Hunter-Reay’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 3rd, which was in 2011.
Tony Kanaan (Chevrolet): Kanaan’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 4th, which was in 2007.
Josef Newgarden (Chevrolet): Newgarden’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 12th, which was in both 2012 and 2014.
Carlos Munoz (Honda): Munoz’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 4th, which was in 2014.
Takuma Sato (Honda): Sato’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 4th, which was in 2011.
Marco Andretti (Honda): Andretti’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 6th, which was in 2009.
Alexander Rossi (Honda): Rossi has never raced at Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar.
Conor Daly (Honda): Daly has never raced at Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar.
Jack Hawksworth (Honda): Hawksworth’s best finish at Mid-Ohio is 8th, which was in 2015.
Mikhail Aleshin (Honda): Aleshin’s best and only finish at Mid-Ohio is 14th, which was in 2014.
RC Enerson (Honda): Enerson has never raced at Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar, but won the race in 2015 in the Indy Lights Series.
Max Chilton (Chevrolet): Chilton has never raced at Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar.
Spencer Pigot (Chevrolet): Pigot has never raced at Mid-Ohio in an IndyCar.