Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

DIXON LOOKS FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINS AT MID-OHIO

Sunday, July 20 - 1:30 p.m. (EDT) - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

 Distance 85 laps / 191.25 miles

 TV ABC (Live) / Radio - IMS Radio Network / XM Satellite Radio (Live)

 2007 Winner Scott Dixon

2007 Polesitter Helio Castroneves

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course - 13-turn, 2.258-mile natural terrain road courseFirst IndyCar Series race in 2007 - Seats: Unlimited (330-acre facility)

Mid-Ohio 100 Doubleheader

Date / TimeRace #15:25 p.m. (EDT)Saturday, July 19

Race #210:35 a.m. (EDT)Sunday, July 20

Distance - 40 laps/90.3 miles (Both races)

TV

ESPN2 (Taped)

2 p.m. (EDT) July 24

Dixon eyes repeat

Last year, Scott Dixon’s victory at Mid-Ohio was his third race win in a row and moved him to within 24 points of the series points lead. This year, Dixon enters as the points leader, extending his lead over Helio Castroneves with his victory in Nashville. Can Dixon become a repeat winner at Mid-Ohio and increase his lead in the championship?

One Year Anniversary

Last year Ryan Hunter-Reay made his IndyCar Series debut with Hilliard-based Rahal Letterman Racing at Mid-Ohio, replacing driver Jeff Simmons. During the event weekend, Hunter-Reay just missed a qualifying spot in the Firestone Fast Six and went on to finish 10th. Since then the Team Ethanol driver has gone on to claim his first victory, IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honors and the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year title.

Hometown Advantage

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal grew up with Mid-Ohio in his backyard. The 19-year-old driver spent his childhood at the scenic road course, watching his father, 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, compete at the track. In 2005 Rahal raced in the Formula Atlantic class and won the same national title that his father claimed 30 years earlier in the SCCA National Run-offs at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Rahal currently resides in New Albany, Ohio.

New Car, Same Course

While this weekend’s race marks Ryan Briscoe’s first IndyCar Series event at the track, his ALMS background at the 2.258-mile road course should provide him with slight advantage. While competing for Penske Racing in ALMS last season, Briscoe and teammate Sascha Maassen started on the front row for the race at Mid-Ohio and finished second.

Diverse, compact schedule puts teams to the test

Not only are IndyCar Series teams in the middle of a stretch of six consecutive races, but the next several races will have teams switching from oval setups to road-course setups and back again. Beginning with the race at Richmond June 28 and continuing through the race at Infineon Aug. 28, the schedule alternates between ovals and road courses. How are teams keeping up with the grueling schedule?

Added drama in qualifying

Single-car qualifying has been eliminated on road and street courses in 2008. Drivers are now randomly assigned to two groups that each receive 20 minutes of qualifying time. The top six from each group advance to a second session, and then the fastest six from that session advance to the Firestone Fast Six to determine the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award winner. How will the drivers fight their way to the top in each group to earn a starting position at the front?

Race Notes:

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the second IndyCar Series event conducted at Mid-Ohio. Scott Dixon won last year’s event.

Helio Castroneves won PEAK Motor Oil Pole Awards at Mid-Ohio last year.

Twelve drivers entered in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio competed in last year’s IndyCar Series event at the track. Three of those drivers led laps: Helio Castroneves 37, Scott Dixon 29 and Tony Kanaan 13. Seven drivers entered competed in CART races at the track. They are: Castroneves, Dixon, Mario Dominguez, Kanaan, Darren Manning, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servia.

Season-to-Date:

·         Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon are the only drivers to finish in the top five in nine of the 11 races this season.

·         Helio Castroneves is the only driver running at the finish of every race in 2008.

·         Seven drivers have won races in 2008. The IndyCar Series record is nine drivers in 1996/97, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Milestones & Records:

Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 109th career IndyCar Series start. It would also be his 107th consecutive start.

Helio Castroneves can establish an IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with at least one win should he win the Honda Indy 200. Castroneves is tied with Scott Sharp with victories in seven consecutive seasons.

Helio Castroneves extended his IndyCar Series record for consecutive seasons with a pole to seven when he won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award at Nashville.

Tony Kanaan finished fourth at Nashville, giving him the 63rd top-five finish of his career, a new IndyCar Series record.

Scott Dixon needs to lead 32 more laps to become the fifth driver to lead 2,000 laps in his career. The others to lead at least 2,000 laps are Sam Hornish Jr. (3,428), Helio Castroneves (2,774), Dan Wheldon (2,735) and Tony Kanaan (2,419).

Scott Dixon has led 686 laps this season. The record for most laps led in a season is 889 by Tony Kanaan in 2004.

Helio Castroneves has led laps in 65 IndyCar Series races, second only to Sam Hornish Jr., who led laps in 67 races.

Vitor Meira has gone 87 starts without a victory in the IndyCar Series, the longest drought of any IndyCar Series driver.

Mid-Ohio 100 Doubleheader

Highly-competitive season resumes with doubleheader weekend at Mid-Ohio

The Firestone Indy Lights season continues with a return to road courses for a pair of races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. San Diego’s Richard Antinucci, who won the inaugural race at Mid-Ohio, leads Brazil's Raphael Matos by 15 points while Ana Beatriz is third, 39 points behind. The top-six drivers (Antinucci, Matos, Beatriz Dillon Battistini, Arie Luyendyk Jr., and J.R. Hildebrand) are separated by 58 markers.

Could Bia Repeat?

For the first time in series history, a female drivers could walk away with the Firestone Firehawk Cup. Brazil's Ana Beatriz, who is third in points, became the first female driver to win in the Firestone Indy Lights on July 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. Beatriz, who can claim a $5,000 bonus from Firestone should she win the first race, benefits from the championship experience of Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Matos then Antinucci again?

The first two doubleheader weekends have seen only two drivers take the top step of the podium. In face, Raphael Matos of AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing has taken the first race of each doubleheader weekend, while Richard Antinucci of Sam Schmidt Motorsports has won the second race on each doubleheader weekend. Can either driver stop the trend, or will a new winner emerge on the road course?

Race Notes:

Familiar names race in Mid-Ohio

The Mid-Ohio 100 entry list features several drivers hoping to emulate their family’s success in open-wheel racing

·         Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., drives the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. The defending race winner at Mid-Ohio will attempt to maintain the his series points lead at Mid-Ohio.

·         Sean Guthrie, driver of the No. 4 Carcrafters Guthrie Racing car, is the son of three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jim Guthrie. Guthrie will make his second start at Mid-Ohio this weekend in search of his first win.

·         Arie Luyendyk Jr., driver of the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing car, also seeks his first win at Mid-Ohio. The second-generation driver, who makes his first start at Mid-Ohio, is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.

On the road again

The Firestone Indy Lights returns to the twists and turns of a permanent road course this weekend. Many of the drivers in the series come from road racing backgrounds so the doubleheader weekend is a welcome sight.

Home-track advantage

RLR/Andersen Racing calls Florida home, but it spends its summer at the Rahal Letterman Racing shop in nearby Hilliard, Ohio. The team fields a pair of cars for driver J.R. Hildebrand and Andrew Prendeville, both who have won at Mid-Ohio on the road to the Firesont Indy Lights.

Season To Date:

·         Six drivers have won races this year – Dillon Battistini, Raphael Matos, Richard Antinucci, J.R. Hildebrand, Bobby Wilson and Ana Beatriz.Battistini has the most wins with three (Homestead, Indianapolis and Iowa). Matos and Antinucci split the doubleheaders at St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen.

·         A record-tying six drivers have won the SWE Pole Award this season – Raphael Matos, Dillon Battistini, Pablo Donoso, Arie Luyendyk Jr.., Franck Perera and James Davison. Matos is the only driver to win more than one pole (Homestead and St. Pete).

·         Richard Antinucci has finished first or second in six of the 10 races this season. He won St. Petersburg 2 and Watkins Glen 2 and finished second at Homestead, St. Petersburg 1, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen 1.

Milestones:

·         Arie Luyendyk Jr. will attempt to make his 57th and 58th Firestone Indy Lights start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which would extend his series record.

·         Bobby Wilson will attempt to make his 39th and 40th consecutive start, which is second on the all-time list. Jaime Camara holds the series record with 42 consecutive starts from 2005-2007.

·         Richard Antinucci and Raphael Matos moved into a tie with A.J. Foyt IV for seventh on the Firestone Indy Lights all-time win list with their victories at Watkins Glen.

·         Ana Beatriz became the first female driver to win a race in the Firestone Indy Lights and the second female this year to win an Indy Racing League-sanctioned event.

·         Sam Schmidt Motorsports won its 25th Firestone Indy Lights event, the most of any team.

Schedule (local time):

July 18

9:40-10:25 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice

10:40-12:10 – IndyCar Series practice

2:25-2:55 p.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice

3:10-4:10 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice

July 19

8:45-9:45 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

11-11:30 a.m. – SWE Pole Qualifying

11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. – PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying presented by AutoZone

4:55 p.m. – Mid-Ohio 100 Race 1 pre-race

5:25 p.m. – Mid-Ohio 100 Race 1 (40 laps/90.3 miles)

July 20

8-8:15 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights warm-up

8:30-9 a.m. – IndyCar Series warm-up

10:10 a.m. – Mid-Ohio 100 Race 2 pre-race

10:35 a.m. – Mid-Ohio 100 Race 2 (40 laps/90.3 miles)

12:30 p.m. – Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance pre-race

1:30 p.m. – Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance (85 laps/191.25 miles)