Verizon IndyCar Series' championship drive begins at Mid-Ohio
Race Broadcast Sunday, Aug. 3 3 p.m. (ET) NBCSN
Qualifying Broadcast Saturday, Aug.2 5:30 p.m. (ET) NBCSN
Track Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (13-turn, 2.258-mile road course)/Distance 90 laps/203.22 miles
Radio IMS Radio Network XM 209/Sirius 213
2013 Race Winner Charlie Kimball
2013 Pole sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:05.3519, 124.385 mph)
Track Record Dario Franchitti (1:05.347, 124.394 mph), Aug. 1999
Gil de Ferran (1:05.347, 124.394 mph), Aug. 2000
Castroneves aims to keep championship lead
Helio Castroneves took control of the Verizon IndyCar Series standings from teammate Will Power at Iowa Speedway on July 12 and carries a 13-point advantage over the Australian into the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Can Castroneves, who hasn't won at Mid-Ohio since 2001, get some breathing room in a tight title fight with a strong performance this weekend?
Ganassi team seeks another Mid-Ohio win
Despite being winless in 2014, Chip Ganassi Racing hopes to keep its successful run going at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where it has won the last five races, including Charlie Kimball's first career win in 2013. Scott Dixon has won three of the last five races at Mid-Ohio, including back to back in 2011-12, while Tony Kanaan has rounded into top form with three podium finishes (third, third and second) in the last three races. Ryan Briscoe is a former winner at Mid-Ohio. Can Ganassi keep its Mid-Ohio streak going and win for the sixth consecutive year?
Hunter-Reay seeks to get back into title contention
Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who picked up the Best Driver ESPY Award on July 16, is third in the championship standings 69 points out of the lead. Can the driver of the No. 28 DHL car, who has a series-best three victories this season, get back into title contention with a strong finish at Mid-Ohio?
Pagenaud close but not close enough
Simon Pagenaud has finished on the podium in his last two starts at Mid-Ohio and is hoping for another strong finish. Pagenaud, driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda, has two victories this season after finishing in the top five in the series point standings the last two years. What can Pagenaud do to get in Victory Circle at Mid-Ohio?
Marco adding to Andretti family legacy
The Andretti name has been a major part of open-wheel racing history at Mid-Ohio. Mario and Michael Andretti combined for three wins at the road course. Now Marco Andretti returns to the circuit in search of adding to his family's legacy at the track. Can Marco match his family's success on the Mid-Ohio circuit?
Rahal returns to 'home' race
Graham Rahal returns to Mid-Ohio behind the wheel of the car fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing - the team co-owned by his father, Bobby. The Rahal name is synonymous with Victory Circle at Mid-Ohio and the driver of the No. 15 National Guard car would like nothing more than to win at his "home track." Can Rahal combine a strong qualifying effort with a mistake-free race to earn his first victory of the season? Bourdais aiming for a win at Mid-OhioSebastien Bourdais returns to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with KVSH Racing riding the momentum of his first win since 2007. The four-time Champ Car champion has finished in the top 10 in three of his four starts at Mid-Ohio, including a fourth-place finish in 2012. Can the Frenchman continue his winning form at Mid-Ohio?
Generation NextJames Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud and Charlie Kimball all scored their first win in 2013, finished top 10 in the championship standings and established themselves as the next stars of the sport. The trio of young stars is joined by a talented rookie class that has already produced a race winner in Carlos Huertas. Will a young star be a threat to win this weekend?
Race Notes:• The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the 30th Indy car race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the seventh Verizon IndyCar Series event. Charlie Kimball is the defending race winner. Ryan Hunter-Reay won the pole in 2013.• CART and Champ Car held 22 Indy car races at Mid-Ohio from 1980-2003. Al Unser won the pole for the first Indy car race at Mid-Ohio in 1980. Johnny Rutherford won the race.• Scott Dixon is the only driver to win at Mid-Ohio four times, winning the races in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. Emerson Fittipaldi won at Mid-Ohio three times, while Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Teo Fabi, Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. have all won at Mid-Ohio twice. Past winners Kimball, Dixon, Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe (2008) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999) are entered.• There have been five different pole winners in the previous six races. Helio Castroneves won the pole in 2007 and 2008. Other pole winners entered in this year's race are: Ryan Briscoe (2009), Will Power (2010-12), Scott Dixon (2011) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2013).• Ten (10) drivers have won the race from the pole - Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1985), Roberto Guerrero (1987), Teo Fabi (1989), Michael Andretti (1990 and 1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Patrick Carpentier (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Scott Dixon (2011).• Eighteen drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Mid-Ohio. Tony Kanaan (12) has the most starts at Mid-Ohio among the entered drivers. Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertas and Carlos Munoz (0) have the fewest.• Chip Ganassi Racing has won nine times at Mid-Ohio, including the last five races at the track. Ganassi's winning drivers are: Alex Zanardi (1996-97), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Scott Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011-12), Dario Franchitti (2010) and Charlie Kimball (2013).• Team Penske has seven wins at the track: Emerson Fittipaldi (1992-93), Al Unser Jr. (1994-95), Helio Castroneves (2000-01), Ryan Briscoe (2008).• Scott Dixon has finished in the top five in seven of his nine races at Mid-Ohio, including four wins between 2007 and 2012.• Will Power has finished in the top five in four of his five starts at Mid-Ohio.• The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the 11th race on a road/street course in 2014. The first 10 races were won by Will Power (St. Petersburg, Belle Isle-1), Mike Conway (Long Beach, Toronto-2), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Barber), Simon Pagenaud (Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Houston-2), Helio Castroneves (Belle Isle-2), Carlos Huertas (Houston-1) and Sebastien Bourdais (Toronto-1).• The No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during Race 1 at Honda Indy Toronto with a total pit lane time of 29.920 seconds. It was the team's first award of the season. During Race 2 at Honda Indy Toronto, the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing crew captured its second Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award with a total pit lane time of 42.447. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing and Dale Coyne Racing crews will receive their awards during pre-race festivities at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Season to Date:• Will Power won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. It was the 22nd win of his Indy car career, tying Tony Bettenhausen and Emerson Fittipaldi for 19th all time.• Mike Conway won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the second time in his career. It was his third Indy car win.• Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second consecutive season.• Simon Pagenaud won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, becoming the fourth different winner in as many races.• Ryan Hunter-Reay won the 98th Indianapolis 500, becoming the first driver to win multiple races in 2014.• Will Power and Helio Castroneves split the doubleheader races at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans - helping Team Penske sweep the wins in Detroit for the first time.• Ed Carpenter won the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in his career. It was his third Indy car win.• Carlos Huertas claimed the first win of his career when he won the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 1. He became the 211th different winner in Indy car racing.• Simon Pagenaud won the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 2. It was his second win of the season and fourth of his career.• Juan Pablo Montoya became the eighth different winner in 11 races when he won the Pocono INDYCAR 500 from the pole. It was his 12th career win. He was the first driver to win the Verizon P1 Award and race this season. • Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed his second win at Iowa Speedway in three years when he won the Iowa Corn Indy 300. Hunter-Reay was the fifth driver in a row from Andretti Autosport to win at Iowa.• Sebastien Bourdais and Mike Conway split the doubleheader races at the Honda Indy Toronto. It was Bourdais' first Indy car win since 2007. Conway won for the second time in 2014 and the fourth time in his career.• Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth and Carlos Huertas started their first career Verizon IndyCar Series race at St. Petersburg.
Milestones & Records:• Should Scott Dixon win the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, he will join A.J. Foyt, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win four Indy car titles in his career. Foyt won seven championships in his career, while Andretti, Bourdais and Franchitti each won four titles.• With his next victory, Scott Dixon will tie Al Unser Jr. for sixth on the all-time wins list. Dixon, the active leader for wins, won his 33rd race at Houston's Reliant Park in October 2013.• With a victory in 2014, Scott Dixon will extend his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to 10.• Sebastien Bourdais moved into sole possession of eighth place on the all-time wins list with his win at Toronto's Exhibition Place on July 20. Bourdais passed Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy with his 32nd career win.• Helio Castroneves tied Rick Mears for 11th place on the all-time wins list with his 29th race win at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park on June 1.• Will Power tied Tommy Milton for 18th place on the all-time wins list with his 23rd race win at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park on May 31.• Will Power's win at St. Petersburg extended his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to eight.• Helio Castroneves reached 40 career poles in his Indy car career by earning the pole for the second race at Houston. Castroneves is the active leader with 40 pole positions, which is tied with Rick Mears for fourth all time.• With his pole at Iowa, Scott Dixon extended his Verizon IndyCar Series streak to eight consecutive seasons with at least one pole position earned.• Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 230th consecutive start at Mid-Ohio, which would extend his all-time record. Scott Dixon with 171 straight starts (fourth all time), Marco Andretti with 147 straight starts (eighth all time) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (16th all time) with 122 straight starts are the only active drivers with a streak of more than 100 consecutive starts.• Helio Castroneves is the active leader in starts with 290, which is eighth on the all-time list.• Tony Kanaan has 289 starts, which is ninth on the all-time list.• Helio Castroneves is the active leader in top-five finishes with 118, which is eighth on the all-time list.• Tony Kanaan is ninth on the all-time list with 116 top-five finishes. • Scott Dixon is 10th with 115 top-five finishes
At-Track Schedule (all times local):Friday, Aug. 110 - 10:45 a.m. - Verizon IndyCar Series practice #12 - 2:45 p.m. - Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2
Saturday, Aug. 210 - 10:45 a.m. - Verizon IndyCar Series practice #32-3:10 p.m. - Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (Knockout qualifying/Firestone Fast Six), NBCSN (Taped, 5:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Aug. 310-10:30 a.m. - Verizon IndyCar Series warm up3:50 p.m. - Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (90 laps/203.22 miles), NBCSN (Live)