IRL: Mid-Ohio: Rahal Letterman Racing preview

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING LOOKING FORWARD TO HOME COOKING AT MID-OHIO HILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing will return to its home track as the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosts the IndyCar Series in this weekend's inaugural Honda Indy 200, ...

RAHAL LETTERMAN RACING LOOKING FORWARD TO HOME COOKING AT MID-OHIO

HILLIARD, Ohio - Rahal Letterman Racing will return to its home track as the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course hosts the IndyCar Series in this weekend's inaugural Honda Indy 200, bringing the Hilliard-based team to the Lexington road course for the first time since 2003.

And while the team and its members will be familiar to nearly everyone that have frequented the 2.258-mile road course over the years, the long-awaited reunion between the team and its Central Ohio fans will feature a new face making his IndyCar debut with the home squad.

Scott Sharp (#8 Patron Dallara/Honda/Firestone) will be joined by fellow Floridian Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) for the remainder of the 2007 season, with Hunter-Reay set to make his debut with the team this weekend.

Hunter-Reay is no stranger to Mid-Ohio however, having scored his first-ever Champ Car podium there with a second-place run in 2003. The three-year Champ Car veteran has been considered one of the bright young American talents for much of the decade, and is looking forward to opening a new chapter in his racing career.

"I am very happy to be joining a quality organization such as Rahal Letterman Racing. This is a strong opportunity for me and I am eager to help the team move forward," Hunter-Reay said. "I really missed open-wheel racing and am excited about getting started this weekend at a track where I have done well in the past."

For Sharp, the weekend takes him back to his roots a bit, back to a time when he ruled the road courses as a Trans-Am champion in 1992 and '93. A reprisal of some of those results this weekend would serve Sharp well, as he is locked in a battle for sixth in the championship with Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick.

The affable veteran is just 20 points behind Castroneves and just two digits behind Patrick after 11 events. Sharp comes off one of his strongest weekends of the year last weekend as he ran in the top five all day before a late-race incident left him to place seventh in Nashville.

"We had a solid run last weekend and while we didn't get the result we deserved, it did a lot for me and for our team and gave us something to build on," Sharp said. "Now we go to Mid-Ohio, which is one of the great old race courses in the country. I am looking forward to the challenge this weekend as Mid-Ohio has a number of spots that can really test you and your car. I am also excited about welcoming Ryan to the team and working closely with him like we did with Jeff Simmons."

Sharp added to three of his IndyCar-record statistical achievements last weekend, extending his records for top-ten finishes (79), consecutive starts (132) and total starts (139), and also reached a significant financial milestone when he became just the second IndyCar driver to earn more than $10 million.

-credit: rlr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Jeff Simmons , Danica Patrick