Unfiltered Race Notes: Mid-Ohio 2014

Welcome back. It’s Mid-Ohio weekend… Let’s go!

—Prerace—

Alright, I wonder how long until the FF button gets hit…

Qualifying rewind. Tough day for the series for sure… I was slightly embarrassed for the drivers after two years of green flag running, rain or not

Mistic guy sucking on that e-cig behind Bourdais is really creepy… dude… at least pretend you’re enjoying your hi-tech nicotine

Josef notes the highly dynamic game of predicting indycar race strategy; all it takes is a single yellow. I will note that I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two editions of Barber. It’s pretty cool to see the guys not get a moment of rest and who has the concentration to see the race out

Mid-Ohio winners flashback. The track really only lets the most skilled drivers into victory lane

Word to IMSP. The Toronto flashback was epic

Penske boys very coy about the points championship. You know both are feeling the pressure, but RHR looks cool as ice. He may be the dark horse this year

Joonyer makes an appearance in the National Guard piece. That’s one way to increase ratings I guess maybe

Guns, explosives, chicks… all good with me

HONDA CR-Z HPD PACE CAR!!! MUCH better than that STUPID Accord

Can we please subtitle Munoz please?

Curt and Kevin shout out from the two seater.  Finally

—Race—

HCN in before the green with a throttle issue. Uh-oh

GREEN

YELLOW

Kanaan around and Andretti has nowhere to go and plowed into him

Looks like TK took a little too much grass. Pushing too hard too early on. Newgarden closed the door too late as well. One of them racin’ things I believe

Didn’t take long to rack up the first yellow of the day

3

HCN suffering on pit lane again

5

GREEN

Bourdais controls the field

Hearing calls for map 2. Usually means we are already saving fuel. With the caution, we could push this race into 2 stop territory if you save

7

Briscoe on blacks and falling through the field. Looks like Wilson is as well, Loses a place to Conway

9

Mesmerized by the fight between Conway and Briscoe. Ryan is definitely hanging tough though

12

Sato in. Looks like his race was burnt because of damage taken on the lap 1 melee

13

Pags in. Clearly the first of the 3 stoppers coming in

14

HOLY CRAP, THE BOOTH ACTUALLY PAUSED FOR A RADIO COMMUNICATION!!! Now, if we could have a graphic about who the transmission is for we would be golden.

And they talk over the very next one.

15

Hinch start replay. Attachments

18

Looks like Newgarden is ever so slightly reeling Bourdais in. We know Bourdais is saving and it sounds like Newgarden may be pushing. Bourdais could really run away with this thing if he doesn’t miss the strategy

21

Pits are starting to get busy

22

Leigh mentions Barry Wodell and Hobbs starts talking all English-y. I have no idea what anything he is saying means

23

Aleshin doing his patented inside-drift-outside block. RUSSIAN MAFIA DON’T CARE

24

Blocking warning for Aleshin. Beaux: “we will be watching” The booth was talking over the radio, I wonder if they even mention it

25

RHR is pushing and the track is noticeably gaining grip. Cars are looking very quick right now

27

Bourdais in. The gap to Newgarden is massive. RHR could spoil the day

AA looks like they took purple rim reds off of the RHR car and put black rim blacks on

RHR out ahead of Bourdais but he takes P1 back into T3

Pit speed violation for RHR. Dummy

29

The Keyhole entry is almost too fast to be a viable passing zone

Saavedra out with engine failure

32

I bet we finish this race without another caution period

About 180 into T3. Not bad, but we still need to be 190+

35

I think I could watch indycars run around here all day. Everyone still looks like they are pushing pretty hard. NBCSN has been giving us about 3 laps of onboards. Always cool to see

37

YELLOW

RHR spins in the carousel. What a rough day for the guy, but all of his own doing

Sato in the grass somewhere after pulling off intentionally. Towed back to the puts

The AWESOME CR-Z PACE CAR looks much quicker than the stupid Accord. Excellent choice to make the change. I’m giving a raise to whoever made that decision

Dixon stays out to lead the field. Needs a miracle

43

GREEN

Dixon really holds the pack up heading to the green. It’s literal chaos behind him

45

Munoz and Newgarden have been fighting clean but close for 3 laps

Dixon is checking out. I wonder what his strategy is at this point?

47

Newgarden ahead of Bourdais into the keyhole. Dixon shouldn’t be a problem unless said miracle is granted

In reality, Newgarden may chase down Dixon just for the hell of it

48

Pags and Briscoe fighting side by side through the esses. Wow. Be careful boys

49

Incredible racing today

Of note: Purple rims on the Andretti ride today as well

55

Newgarden has stalled out behind Dixon

Sarah Fisher’s I’m-super-stressed-but-want-to-seem-cool-during-the-interview-poker-face is very very poor

57

Through the field. That took a lot longer than I thought it would to get to a ho-hum place in the race to do this

59

Briscoe finally elbows  around Pags

63

Dixon in. He may still be able to do this

65

Newgarden in along with the rest of the field. Air guy takes a mean tumble heading to service the car; that is not race winning form right there. Out behind Bourdais and Munoz.

68

Dixon could actually win this. Hinch out in P2

69

Newgarden: penalty for hitting pit equipment. Hose in the way. No one to blame but the crew

Fastest lap is 2 seconds slower than 2013

75

Watching 4 of my 5 fantasy picks racing wheel to wheel with each other. Please be safe boys, I need the points this week

79

The top five looks pretty locked in. I doubt we see any changes before the checkers

82

Shocked Dixon has been able to pull this one out so far

85

Everyone is still pushing, but the field is pretty stretched out. Even if the action has been light during this second half, you can actually see how hard the drivers are wheeling the car. Kind of a nice change after all the street circuit fuel races

86

Dixon is incredible here.

Rahal makes his first real appearance of the race. Quietly running to P5

88

We have now settled into watching Dixon circulate to victory. I’m OK with that

Replay of Chippy face planting off of the wall. Yes yes yes

90

CHECKERS

Dixon runs out of fuel on the exit of T1. That’s about as close as you can play it

Montoya driving the wrong way down the track, Kimball out of gas rolling backwards, I think everyone played it that close

Last to first, has that ever happened?

Bourdais: that was no miracle there; they were the class of the field today. Well said

I want to hear from the SFHR crew

Cool, final words with Josef. Body language tells me he is furious or about to cry. I’m still not sure he could have had anything for Dixon though

A relatively lock step run to the checkers after the final pitstop is more than made up for with the intense and blistering opening 2/3 of the  race. All in all, it was a really fun afternoon in Mid-Ohio and again I wonder why it, like Barber, continues to be the target of detractors. It wasn’t in the cards this year for me to attend in person, but a weekend of camping around one of the best road courses in the mid-west is always the plan for the next year. Hopefully we will have a different ending in 2015!

Eric Hall

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One Response to Unfiltered Race Notes: Mid-Ohio 2014

  1. dylanpt24 says:

    Well, the last part of the race (and the race at Barber) where there was basically no position change in the top ten explains why I am not a fan of either track. Coming from last to first was impressive, but a lot of that was due to the fuel and the early crash. Watching Dixon save fuel was not to me a terribly enjoyable race. Newgarden’s team falling apart was bad. First of all had Newgarden won, it would have been a much more interesting result. Secondly, to win Newgarden would have either had to pressure Dixon into running out of fuel (likely doable as he ran out right after finishing) or Newgarden would have had to pass him on track, for the lead. At Mid Ohio. Now that would have been impressive. I would argue that the fuel saving is actually worse at the natural terrain road courses than the street courses, though I am not sure why that is the case. Probably has to due with the likelyhood of cautions. It was very F1 ish, though, and as someone who’s not a big F1 fan, that’s not really what I want to see.

    I would like to see what Indycar could do at a better, longer, more passing friendly road course. Watkins Glen, COTA, Road America, Montreal, even something like Miller Motorsports park. Maybe even NOLA. I’d even take an international race if it were run on a decent road course (Mugello for example) just to see what a DW-12 does on one. It should be good, though I would be concerned that like the Indy GP, it just became a fuel saving derby. That could take the air out of even a good track like Road America.

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