Mid-Ohio: Preview

IndyCar commentary — By on August 4, 2011 1:15 pm

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be well on my way to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to cover this year’s running of the Honda Indy 200.

Right off the top, I have to point out that the decision to head for Ohio over Quebec this weekend was a very difficult one. Mid-Ohio and Trois-Rivières are roughly equidistant to my home in Toronto, and watching the Firestone Indy Lights headline at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières would have been the perfect reason to attend an historic event that I have yet to see. What the decision ultimately came down to was the fact that I haven’t spent nearly enough time in the INDYCAR paddock this year having not been able to make it to as many events as usual. Trois-Rivières, unfortunately, will need to wait for more affluent times.

I’m not complaining, of course. This will be my third visit to Mid-Ohio, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the previous two. This track takes a lot of flack for not always producing the best-looking race on TV, but there’s a reason that the viewing areas are always packed: it’s a fantastic venue for attending in person. It also happens to be in an area that’s within relatively easy driving distance of a lot of INDYCAR-friendly markets. I have yet to meet anyone who’s attended Mid-Ohio who hasn’t felt it was a weekend well-spent.

That said, one of the things I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this weekend is to see whether the change in ownership has had an effect on operations. Mid-Ohio was purchased by Green Savoree Promotions over the winter, the same organization responsible for promoting the St. Petersburg and Toronto events. A permanent road course is a very different venture for this group, so it will be interesting to see what changes and what stays the same.

Green Savoree also happened to pick up this property just in time to celebrate its 50th year in operation. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the ways that the facility recognizes this milestone in its history. (Interestingly, all three races I’ve attended this year happened to be celebrating significant milestones: the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 (which was noted in spectacular fashion), the 25th running of the Honda Indy Toronto (which fell decidedly flat — at the hands of Green Savoree, notably), and this one. It will be very interesting to see where on this spectrum Mid-Ohio falls.)

On the INDYCAR side, one thing I’ll definitely be watching for (along with everyone else, no doubt) is reaction to the news revealed earlier this week that Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway, and Alex Tagliani have been placed on probation for avoidable contact through the end of this season. And another topic of great interest will be the double-file restarts — nearly everyone agrees that they’re simply not possible at this track in its current configuration, so working out the kinks will likely be a weekend-long process, and I’ll do my best to keep you apprised of it.

Unfortunately, I’ll be heading home on Sunday night with everyone else and won’t get to see any of the fully closed test of the 2012 prototype taking place on Monday and Tuesday. (I considered trying undercover reconnaissance but, frankly, I’m not very good at it. I’d end up posting pictures on Twitter and blowing my cover within 10 minutes.) But by that point, I expect to have fully enjoyed an action-packed race weekend and to have shared it to the best of my ability. Please check back here at MoreFrontWing.com all weekend long for daily summary posts, and be sure to follow @MoreFrontWing on Twitter for up-to-the-minute trackside updates!

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