Mid-Ohio: Steph’s Friday thoughts

IndyCar commentary — By on August 5, 2011 9:17 pm

Since we had such a brief schedule of events today (which isn’t unusual for this event), I’m going to keep my thoughts brief and take the opportunity to catch up on some sleep to get me through the rest of the weekend.

– First, it was announced today that Honda will be partnering with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2012. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise and has been covered in excellent detail elsewhere (particularly by our friends at TracksideOnline.com — if you don’t subscribe, you should), so I’ll just point it out as being noteworthy and leave it at that.

– The weekend also features a more relaxed schedule than usual for INDYCAR folks as the Firestone Indy Lights are off in Trois-Rivières. Though I, for one, enjoy being flat-out all weekend long, having the opportunity to spend some time in the paddock without worrying about missing track action is a nice break.

– During the afternoon’s practice session, a number of drivers were complaining about having loose/nervous back ends. Graham Rahal detailed in the end-of-day press conference that this was (at least in part) due to the rubber and dust left behind by the ALMS cars in the session immediately before. This will have teams attempting to adjust for this tomorrow in time for qualifying and then adjust back for the race on Sunday, particularly if the rain that some say is expected tomorrow comes after the last track activity. It’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on.

– By being fastest in today’s practice, Rahal earned the opportunity to choose which qualifying group he will participate in tomorrow. He opted to go with the second.

– Finally, the idea was floated in the drivers’ meeting today to have all of the double-file restarts take place at the start line on the backstretch instead of the finish line between the carousel and turn 1. Opinions on it appear to be very positive, so it’s safe to say we can expect this to stick.

We’ve got a longer day in store for tomorrow with a morning practice session, early afternoon qualifying, and a tweet-up! Please check back here throughout the weekend for daily summaries and follow @MoreFrontWing on Twitter for live updates.