Friday, August 6, 2010

Mid-Ohio Race Preview - Honda 200

(2009 Indy Lights Champ J.R. Hidebrand makes his IZOD IndyCar debut)

IndyCar begins their 12th race weekend, as the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights Series will race on the permanent 2.4 mile road course at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Park. Scott Dixon dominated the 2009 race, with a winning margin of almost 30 seconds. 27 cars are entered for Sunday’s 85 lap race, among the many storylines heading into this weekend, most centers around the blocking controversy that happened two weeks ago at Edmonton. IndyCar Garage gives you five storylines to watch heading into this weekend.

1. The Championship is Will Power’s to lose
Will Power has dominated in 2010, and his strength is on the road courses, as all four of his wins this season have come in non-oval races. Power has a commanding 50 point lead over second place Dario Franchitti, but one bad race and that could easily slip away. If Power has another dominate weekend, which would include the pole and victory lane, then the championship could be over by the time IndyCar hits the second portion of ovals on the 2010 schedule.

2. The 2011 Schedule?
Several changes have been rumored for the 2011 IndyCar Schedule, but IndyCar has been fairly quiet on when the actual schedule will be announced. Will there be 18 races? Any new venues? Milwaukee? Vegas? How many road/street course races? How many ovals? How many ISC tracks? All of these questions are up in the air at the moment, and many of the fans are starting to wonder when they will get answered. Randy Bernard and Gil DeFerran will be answering questions from the fans at Mid-Ohio, look for some possible answers at those forums.

3. Shake up within the cockpit

Graham Rahal returns with Newman/Haas, J.R. Hildebrand makes his IZOD IndyCar Series debut with Dryer and Reinbold, Adam Carroll returns with Andretti Autosport, Jay Howard returns with Sarah Fisher Racing, and Francesco Dracone makes his debut for Conquest Racing. All in all, several new faces will be driving at Mid-Ohio and it will mark the first time that last four Indy Lights Champs will be driving in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Hildenbrand (2009), Raphael Matos (2008), Alex Lloyd (2007), and Jay Howard (2006) all have graduated to full or part time rides within the IZOD IndyCar Series.

4. Scott Dixon Domination again?

Dixon has dominated in 2007 and 2009 at Mid-Ohio, and expect this weekend to be no different. Dixon , who sits third in the championship, could get back in the mix this weekend if he can qualify well and demonstrate the dominance that helped him win by over 30 seconds last year.

5. IndyCar Garage Picks for the weekend

5th Graham Rahal – Mid-Ohio is his home track, look for him to do well

4th Ryan Hunter-Reay – RHR has been the most consistent Andretti driver this year and finished 4th last year at this track while driving for A.J. Foyt Racing.

3rd Justin Wilson – Wilson should have won in Toronto, and has two runner finishes this year.

2nd Will Power – Power will be in the mix just because he is that good

1st Scott Dixon – Dixon dominated last year and looks to do so again this year

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