The Frontstretch: IndyCar Mid-Ohio Recap: Caution Free Once Again by Matt Stallknecht -- Monday August 6, 2012

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IndyCar Mid-Ohio Recap: Caution Free Once Again

Matt Stallknecht · Monday August 6, 2012

 

In a nutshell: Scott Dixon and the No. 9 team won their fourth career race at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, this time by snookering early leader Will Power on pit road. The race, which went caution-free, was the second straight caution free race of the season. Will Power led much of the early portion of the race but a slow pit stop relegated Power to a second place finish. Simon Pagenaud, Sebastian Bourdais, and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top 5.

Key Moment: Will Power had the field covered for the first 56 laps of the race, but Power’s No. 12 team had a slow pit stop on lap 57 and subsequently were beat off of pit road by Dixon and the No. 9 team. Dixon made it look easy from there on out, and cruised home by leading the rest of the way en route to his second win of the year.

Highlight Reel:

- The start of the race was hectic, and Justin Wilson was a victim of the early race chaos. He self-spun it on lap 1 and never really recovered.

- Ryan Hunter-Reay made an incredible save after going off track midway through the race. Hunter-Reay kept the car straight and drove through wet grass and mud in an attempt to reenter the track. A sour engine would ruin his day, however.

- Not much else happened in this one. Caution-free races with little passing up front are the latest theme to grace IndyCar’s maligned road racing product.

Simon Pagenaud turned in another solid performance with a third place finish to earn our notable driver of the week. Credit INDYCAR/LAT USA.

Notable Driver: Simon Pagenaud continues to impress week after week. Pagenaud has become a mainstay of the front of the field, and he delivered again this week with a rock-solid 3rd place finish. With Graham Rahal likely out at Ganassi at the end of the season, one would have to think ol’ Chip is going to take a look at this talented French driver to fill the vacant spot on the team.

Key Storylines:

- Scott Dixon’s victory launched him back into the title conversation, and he now sits only 28 points behind new leader Will Power.

- Ryan Hunter-Reay’s engine started to go sour early in the race, and by the time the No. 28 car had crossed the checkers the car was far off the pace, and the best Ryan could muster out of it was a 16th place finish. This was punishing to Hunter-Reay’s push for the championship as he now has fallen to 2nd in the series standings, 5 points behind Power.

- After a second consecutive caution-free race with little to no action to speak of up at the front of the field, IndyCar will have to take a hard look at its road course product and what needs to be done to fix it for 2013. Obviously the track selection is not ideal, but with close to 2/3rds of the schedule comprised of road/street circuits, something needs to be done to spice up the twisty tracks, because what we have right now ain’t cutting it.

Quotes and Tweets:

“I think it definitely helped we had an open pit and Will had to come around us. Everyone thought we would be pitting at the exact same time and same place on the track so I got a good in. The guys in the crew did a fantastic time plugging in the fuel and getting the tires changed. It’s just one of those perfect moments. Got the jump on him out of the pits and the rest was certain.” Scott Dixon on his race winning pit stop.

“We were catching the leaders while still taking easy and saving fuel. I think we were a third-place car at the worst. Then the engine just started losing power and it just gradually got worse the longer we tried to run. It finally just gave up there at the end. It died a slow death.” Ryan Hunter-Reay on the death of his car’s engine.

Great day for the (at)GoDaddy guys. Loved the 3 stopper. Actually got to DRIVE! Qualy laps all race, no yellows, had a blast! Worked hard today James Hinchcliffe ((at)Hinchtown) on his team’s efforts in Mid-Ohio

Whats Next: In three weeks the IZOD IndyCar Series heads to Sonoma, CA for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Will Power cruised to victory last year, and he will have to do the same this year if he wants to maintain his lead in the championship. You can catch all the action from Sonoma at 4:30 PM EST on August 26th on the NBC Sports Network.

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grumpiestoldman
08/06/2012 02:10 PM
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Not a bad race for IndyCar. They’re much more interesting on road courses vs. street ones.
I wish they’d come back to The Glen.

Steve K
08/07/2012 11:05 PM
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Did you watch the race? There was passing all over the place with the exception of the top two. Dixon and Power were just the two fastest cars. I was at the race and saw Bourdais make a pass inside the top ten on three consecutive laps at the esses. Take a look at the box score and look where cars started and where cars finished. It didn’t all happen on pit lane.