It's a win, win, win for IndyCar at Mid-Ohio's Honda Indy 200
All of the pre-race speculation for this 14th race in a 19 race IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) championship season had predicted a race without passing, a race where the race would be won on pitstops and pit strategy and not actual driving ability on the track, a race of fuel saving strategy where the car with the best laps per tank would be at the top of the charts, and lastly, a race where the season championship points leader would definitely loose strength of position at the end of the day due to his poor qualifications performance and a starting position of P14. Sounds kind of depressing, doesn't it?
|Charlie Kimball analyzes and discusses the performance of his Chip Gnassi Racing prepared No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda-powered DW12 in the pits at the GoPro Indy Sonoma last year. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)|
Well, on three major levels, all of these predictions came up a bust and this was all to the benefit to the ardent fan of American open-wheel racing.
To the race winner, himself, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball, after finding out six years ago the he had diabetes and thinking this would dash his dreams of being a professional race car driver, and after two plus years of showing promise driving in the pinnacle professional racing series in North America, clinches his first-ever series win by just driving flat out and have the chips fall where they may. So much for fuel management.
This 'first-ever' win was the fourth for a driver this season as Southern Californian Charlie Kimball joins the person he passed in the final laps at Mid-Ohio to take the lead, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports) who won the seventh race of the season - Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Race 2, Former F1 driver Takuma Sato (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) for his win at the third race of the season - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and Canadian James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Autosport) - who has won three times this season - for his win in the first race of the season - Honda Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg. In the previous five seasons, there were five total first-time winners so this is a great trend.
|The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing No. 83 driven by Charlie Kimball takes Turn 11 at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach where he finished the race at P21 a couple of laps down to the leaders. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)|
This sophomore year of the Dallara DW12 chassis outfitted with either a turbo-charged Chevy or Honda engine has made for very competitive racing ... probably the most competitive in the whole of the 21st century. There have been nine different winners in 14 races, four different teams are represented in the top five positions in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points race, and a driver who has won the series' hallmark race three times - The Indy 500 - yet has never won the season championship, leads the points race through 14 of 19 races this season.
Helio Castroneves entered Mid-Ohio's Honda Indy 200 29 points ahead of his chief rival, Scott Dixon, in the IICS season points. He had a terrible time getting his Penske Racing PPG sponsored Dallara DW12 to work well on the track all weekend long and started the race at P14. Scott Dixon, who was second, and Ryan Hunter-Reay who sits at third, qualified for the race at P3 and P1 - 11 and 13 positions ahead respectively.
By race's end, Castroneves clawed his way through the field, passing nine cars for position, to capture P6 ... one position ahead of Scott Dixon at P7 and one position behind Ryan Hunter-Reay at P5 - so much for no passing. Helio Castroneves now leads all competitors by 31 points which is a net gain of two going into the last five races of the season. If Castroneves goes on to capture the season championship for 2013, without an additional win in the season (only the Firestone 550 in Ft. Worth), this would represent another couple of first-time occurrences - wouldn't it?
Ultimately, the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course echoed the claim expressed on a recent Facebook entry left at The EDJE - Geoff Gray Another good Indycar race ... its the best racing on TV bar none and they proved it again today ... Another first time winner the points are still relatively tight and Charlie Kimball proved that he can pull off a slide job going into Madness!
All of this adds up to a win for Charlie Kimball, win for Helio Castroneves, and most of all, a win for American open-wheel racing fans for a product and effort that is well worth watching in any year, but especially here at Mid-Ohio's Honda Indy 200.
... notes from The EDJE