Two of the three fastest in morning warm-ups for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, ended up in the tire barriers at opposite ends of the track. They both generated red flags in the short half hour session, within the last 10 minutes.
Andretti Autosport driver, Ryan Hunter-Reay, set the fastest lap of the morning, with the No. 28 running a 1:06.5160 – losing it shortly after in Turn 1. His right side tires went over the line and rather than staying the course and kicking up some dirt, he over-corrected, sending the car across the track and landing the right side of his DHL Honda into the tires. Back wing damage as well as a disconnected right tire fender looked to be the extent of the damage but Hunter-Reay’s walk around and close examination of the car after he emerged might tell a different story that we couldn’t see through the camera lens. Hunter-Reay was slotted to start on the inside of Row 4 today from P7 but if the team runs into more than just cosmetic issues, switching to the back up car would put him at the back of the pack.
Jack Hawksworth, piloting the No. 41 for AJ Foyt Racing has been impressive this weekend. His name has been appearing in the mix quite often toward the top of the leaderboard. Unfortunately, his warm up session was served similar fate as the above mentioned Hunter-Reay. The young English driver went against the standard rule of “please wait until the ride comes to a complete stop” when he exited the carousel early and went nose first into the tires at Turn 12 with about 2 minutes remaining. The session was checkered at that point since track clean up would have taken longer than the remaining time available. Despite that slip up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hawkworth finish in the podium today. Seems like he has the car to run up front, if he can handle in traffic and manage the track.
Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud put the pedal down in the No. 22, bring it to its fastest lap of the weekend thus far, ultimately showing 4th quickest in the morning warm-up.. Could the Frenchman’s luck finally be turning around? He’s had a less than stellar weekend without much warrant. He had the tenth fastest car in first practice on Friday, but then down to 23rd out of the 24 car field in the second session of the day. His practice on Saturday only consisted of two laps before the crew headed back to the garage in an attempt to decipher the underlying issues. Pagenaud qualified in P15 yesterday afternoon and looks to be on a better set-up this morning.
And of course Mr. Mid-Ohio himself, Scott Dixon was hanging out with the cool kids, running 6th in warm-ups. The 5-time race winner and track record holder (as of yesterday) at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will be looking to make his 6th trip to the top of the podium in Ohio as he leads the field to green in his No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy, at 2:07pm ET. Make sure you tune in to CNBC to watch the Honda Indy 200 and follow along with live timing & scoring on IndyCar.com as well as the IndyCar 15 app.
While you’re keeping an eye on things, make sure you are taking note of Graham Rahal. I have a feeling the 2nd-in-points RLL driver of the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda could make one heck of a charge from P13 this afternoon and challenge Dixon for that title of Mr. Mid-Ohio. If the fans have anything to say about it this weekend, Rahal will succeed in his venture!
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