Scott Dixon preparing for warm-up session on race day. Dixon went on to win the Honda 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Image Credit: Dan Helrigel via IZOD IndyCar Series
No Magic For Power In Round 11 Of 17 At Mid-Ohio
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Round 11 of 17 delivered a fatal blow to Will Power's chances at getting his first IndyCar Series (ICS) season championship. The Verizon Penske Racing Dallara driver, who was on track to get the ICS championship last year up until the final race of the season when Dario Franchitti was able to eclipse Power's season points total, was looking to climb back into the challenge at 38 points behind and a perfect track for his talents, was caught out twice in pit stop strategy by full course cautions.
"We were making great fuel mileage and we were going to go a lap or two longer than the leaders on the second stop, which would have put us in great position to challenge for the race lead in the last stint," said Power of the Lap 58 incident involving contact between the cars of Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick. "Basically, today we suffered for doing a great job of driving a smart race. We just got caught out by that last yellow flag.”
Will Power as he is being followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Image Credit: Chris Jones via IZOD IndyCar Series
This dropped Power to P16 and allowed Target Chip Ganassi team-mates to duke it out for the win with Scott Dixon passing Dario Franchitti on a restart to eventually take the win. It may have been doubtful if Will Power had anything for the Scott Dixon Dallara because of how well the driver and car had been hooked up all weekend long (fastest Lap - 1:09.1271 / 76), but to finish so far down in the order with a competitive car (set 2nd fastest lap late in the race - 1:09.2376 / 85), placed a stake through the heart (a loss of 24 points against Franchitti - at 62 points behind) of Will Power's chances for a ICS season championship. In fact, with the points Scott Dixon gained with his win (he is now just 29 points behind Power with six races left), Will Power may not even become a repeat "bridesmaid" (runner-up) at season's end in 2011.
The Penske Racing fleet of Dallara cars had a terrible outing at Mid-Ohio. After qualifying Ryan Briscoe at P2, Will Power at P4, and Helio Castroneves at P15, the three drivers end up with Power at P14, Briscoe at P16 and Castroneves at P19.
Newman-Haas's Oriol Servia runs nearly side-by-side with replacement driver for Dreyer & Reinbold's Simon Pagenaud. at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Image Credit: Chris Jones via IZOD IndyCar Series
KV Racing Technology ended up having a fair showing with two of their three cars placing in the top five. Takuma Sato missed the podium for the second time this year, repeating his finishing position at the street course in St. Petersburg at P4 (qualified P9) followed by Tony Kanaan at P5 (qualified P16) ... a good outing for E.J. Viso who finished the race running, and came in just behind Will Power at P15 after qualifying in P12.
Last note: Justin Wilson had an off in turn one and compressed his back but at this point, it does not look like he will need surgery as Vitor Meira required when he suffered a similar injury. He was replaced by former ChampCar World Series driver and ALMS Champion, Simon Pagenaud, in the Dreyer & Reinbold #22 Roll Coater Dallara and delivered a steady performance coming in ahead of Power at P13 after taking the Green Flag at P18.
Said Pagenaud after the race, “Considering that I was thrown into the car yesterday morning, I think that it was a good weekend. Obviously qualifying was a bit of a roller coaster for me with getting in the car quickly and trying to do my best. We started at the back in 18th position. It’s difficult to pass here, so we finished 13th. We had a really good racecar, but it’s just frustrating because I didn’t have the chance to run by myself and show the pace of the car. I think that the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing / Roll Coater car was one of the fastest out there today. We just needed to qualify up front and we would have been okay. All in all, considering the bad luck that the team had all weekend, the team should be glad about that. Bia did a great job and we should all be proud. We will see what happens next.”
Round 12 of 17 sends the teams off to the oval at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where the race is set to be run August 14, broadcast at 3:30pm ET on Versus.
... notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as No Magic for Power in Round 11 of 17 at Mid-Ohio on Technorati]