LIVE BLOG: Mid-Ohio, Sunday

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on August 4, 2013 8:11 am
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Welcome to day 2 of More Front Wing’s first-ever weekend live blog, covering the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This page will be updated with new bits of news and observations all day long, so please check back for updates. Click here to access yesterday’s Honda Indy 200 live blog. For time sheets, schedules, and statistical information, please visit our Mid-Ohio Event Summary.

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9:11 AM - Good morning from race day at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where the air is temperate and there’s not a cloud in the sky — quite the contrast from last year! Things are getting under way shortly with USF2000′s third race of the weekend getting under way shortly.

I took another look around at the crowd on the way out yesterday and on the way in today. The RV parking around the keyhole looks to be pretty well sold out, and the keyhole viewing mound was plenty crowded leading into yesterday evening’s World Challenge race. However, the general camping area is definitely not as full as it has been in past years. This morning, I poked my head in at the esses when I walked past there at about 8:30, and most of the prime viewing spots in the shade of the trees at the top of the hill had already been secured as usual.

The USF2000 cars are pulling out as I type this, so I’ll be back to report on the results of that shortly.

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9:33 AM - The USF2000 race has been red-flagged for an early incident involving 11 cars. Three drivers, including Daniel Burkett and Michael Johnson (sorry, didn’t see the third) were brought back to pit lane in a medical vehicle and left it under their own power. Burkett is being checked out by medical as apparently he took some contact to his helmet. This next point is unconfirmed, but from radio chatter I believe that Neil Alberico, the winner of the first two races this weekend, was involved. The cars are being reordered back to the starting grid order for when they get back under way.

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9:53 AM - The rest of the USF2000 race went off without incident, and Canadian driver Garett Grist scored his first win in the series for Andretti Autosport. Grist was recently nominated for the Team Canada scholarship and has a promising career ahead of him. Congratulations to him and the team on the win.

Pro Mazda race #2 gets under way shortly. I’m going to seek out some breakfast and will report on that event once I find my way back.

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10:41 AM - Had a chance to catch up with Pippa Mann over breakfast. Pippa was upbeat and feeling very positive about her chances of having a steady ride next year — and possibly even having a contract signed before the start of the season! As many of you have likely heard, she’s also been doing a little more work with the IMS Radio Network this weekend as Davey Hamiton wasn’t able to be here, and she’s been enjoying that greatly. And, of course, she’s pumped to run the Cyclops Gear car for Dale Coyne at Fontana later this year. It was great to see Pippa in such high spirits!

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11:40 AM - IndyCar morning warm-up is complete. There were two incidents, one major and one minor. First, Tristan Vautier’s car caught fire in the back coming out of the keyhole, and he planted it lightly into the tires in turn 5 while trying to pull off course. He was fine and got out of the car on his own. Later, EJ Viso turned the car in the keyhole and stalled; he had been complaining earlier in the session that the back end of the car didn’t feel right. He got refired back under way.

Next up is the Firestone Indy Lights race at noon. For those at the track, there’s an informal, last-minute tweet-up coming together for 1:30 PM in front of the IndyCar merchandise tent just inside the bridge in the infield. Please join us if you can!

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12:59 PM - Gabby Chavez just took the checkered flag on his first win in Firestone Indy Lights. The field was into the double digits for today with 11 cars, and it’s fair to think that there might be increased interest in the series over the next few races now that Andersen Promotions is officially taking over and some direction has been provided for the future (i.e., that investing in the current equipment will keep you going, more or less, until 2015).

On the IndyCar side, the only car serving a 10-spot penalty on the starting grid this weekend is Tristan Vautier, whose car needed an engine after the fire in morning warm-up.

Off to the tweet-up now to meet with some of IndyCar’s best fans, and then back afterward for the opening ceremonies of the Honda Indy 200! I’ll be live tweeting throughout the event at @morefrontwing and will provide a summary here shortly afterward. Hope you can follow along!

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2:37 PM - Just got back from the tweet-up, where I had a chance to catch up with some of IndyCar’s best fans. Many of them are people I’ve caught up with many times over the years and am proud to call friends. Thanks so much to those who came out on very short notice!

Great IndyCar fans at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda Indy 200

Catching up with some great fans at a tweet-up at Mid-Ohio!

On the way back to the media center, I stopped by the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports garage to check on the status of the 55 car and ran into Tristan Vautier. He told me that the engine needed to be changed (which was already announced this morning and has been added to our Mid-Ohio Event Summary), but other than a few burned cables (one of which controlled the throttle, unfortunately, which is why he couldn’t stop before he got into the tires), there was no damage to the car. The new engine is in place and has fired, so that team will have no trouble making the grid (though they’ll start 10 spots back from where they qualified).

The cars are pulling out to pit lane now and will be gridding shortly!

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2:45 PM - One more quick note before I go: here are the notes from today’s drivers’ meeting as provided by IndyCar.

  • Cars will start/restart with grid Drivers Right
  • Pace car will pull off second time by for the start of the race
  • When the leader crosses start/finish on the start, the lap count will begin
  • Field is under the control of the leader and must pair up coming out of Turn 1
  • Restart cones are located just coming out of the keyhole at Drivers Right and the cutoff road Drivers Right
  • Leader will begin acceleration in the restart zone. The green flag will not fly until the leader accelerates on the backstretch.
  • Most likely see Full Course Yellow, Pits Open for incidents in the gravel in Turn 2 and 4 or a car in the tires in Turn 12
  • Most likely see Full Course Yellow, Pits Closed for hard impacts in Turn 9
  • Pit In – Don’t decelerate online with anyone behind you
  • Pit Out – Stay to the right until Turn 2
  • If you need to be restarted, be patient. Race control will work with the safety team to get cars started as quickly as possible but be patient and wait for their signal to restart and then to go.
  • Under Full Course Yellow be sure to leave room for the safety team to work
  • Most be proactive, not reactive. Must leave room.
  • If you’re right coming off the kink, you must stay right going into Turn 4
  • Backstraight has a natural line that they’ll be watching.

And these nine drivers will start the race on black Firestone tires: 25-Andretti, 77-Pagenaud, 16-Jakes, 5-Viso, 14-Sato, 4-Servia, 67-Newgarden, 11-Kanaan and 20-Carpenter. The other 15 drivers will start on Firestone reds.

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6:52 PM - Sadly, I have to run (so that my family can eat), but I want to throw a few links at you before I go. Here’s our pre-race podcast with eventual Honda Indy 200 race winner Charlie Kimball. Our Mid-Ohio Event Summary will have all of the post-race reports and stats as soon as I receive them later tonight. And keep an eye on MoreFrontWing.com later this evening as our entire crew provides our first impressions of today’s event.

One final thought on the crowd: it ended up being excellent today. I sort of wonder if what happened with the loss of ALMS was that more people decided not to camp but instead to make a single-day event out of it and pay only for Sunday general admission. This was definitely a strong crowd today, and word on the street is that all of the Honda-sponsored events are already signed for next year with only the dates to be confirmed, so early weekend speculation that this event may be in jeopardy appears to have been unfounded. For those who love Mid-Ohio, that can only be a good thing.

Thanks so much for following along with More Front Wing this weekend. We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio!

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