Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Five things to know about the Honda Indy 200

Honda Indy 200
Scott Dixon impressively won the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 7, 2011.

Dixon Dominates: Even though Scott Dixon is a two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion, and won previously at Mid-Ohio in 2007 and 2009, it was good to see a new winner in victory lane in 2011. In a year dominated by Dario Franchitti and Will Power, the New Zealander earned his first win since last year's season finale at Homestead. Dixon qualified on the pole and led a race high 50 laps.


He certainly had the best car and turned the fastest lap of the entire race on lap 76 at a blistering 117.592mph. However, Dixon still needed to pass teammate Franchitti on a lap 61 restart to ensure the win.

Too Calm?: During the two race swing through Canada, many IndyCar fans complained about too much contact and aggressive driving on the track. After Sunday's race at Mid-Ohio, some fans may suddenly long for such action. With only minimal passing on track, the race stayed remarkably clean. Even drivers newly placed on probation behaved, including Alex Tagliani, Mike Conway, and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The only racer with cause to complain might be hometown favorite Graham Rahal, who suffered damage from incidental contact with Danica Patrick and lost numerous positions when blocked on a pit stop by James Jakes.

Dario Gains: The race played out perfectly for Chip Ganassi Racing. While Dixon scored the win, Dario Franchitti secured a solid second place finish and added 24 points to his championship lead. Knowing his teammate had a faster car, the two-time defending series champion did not counter aggressively when Dixon went for the lead. Meanwhile, rival Will Power struggled after a caution flew before he came in for his second pit stop. Stuck in the back amongst slower cars, Power limped home in 14th place and now sits only 31 points ahead of third place Scott Dixon in the title standings.

Disappointment: Like any race, drivers finishing outside the top ten had plenty of reasons to feel disappointed. But several sub-par results stand out. In particular, it was a miserable race for the usually competitive Penske Racing. Will Power finished 14th, while Ryan Briscoe came in 16th, and Helio Castroneves settled for 19th. While the Penske drivers were hurt by poor luck on their pit stop, all three were far from dominant. So too was Danica Patrick, who actually led two laps by staying on track when everyone else pitted early. But the decision backfired and Patrick's slower car was soon passed by much of the field. Danica finished 21st, in what is likely her last trip to Mid-Ohio.

Wilson Injured: During qualifying on Saturday, Justin Wilson of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing suffered a fractured vertebra when his car went airborne after going off course in a turn. Though the car did not flip, the hard landing damaged the Englishman's back and prevented him from competing in the Honda Indy 200. The injury will sideline the road racing specialist for the rest of 2011 and veteran Tomas Scheckter will drive the #22 car at this weekend's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Source: yahoo