Blog: Indy Lights Mid-Ohio
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is an amazing track and has a long history of IndyCar racing, I even remember going there as a kid to watch my Father race there in the early 90's. I've always loved the course with its variety of fast corners with a lot of blind up and downhill bends. The physical aspect is always something to consider here because it is tough to get rest on the challenging short road course. Early in my career I enjoyed coming here in Formula 2000 and had a great battle here to finish on the podium in the SCCA Runoffs.
Our test here earlier in the year went well so when I set off for my first practice I was hoping the car would have a good balance to start off the weekend. In the first practice I placed 4th and the car was not too bad but I knew we could improve. The second practice was very slick and for most of the session I was on the top of the charts in P1 until the last few minutes when some went to new tires and my team-mate put a flyer in and I dropped to sixth. Qualifying was drama filled, with a 30 minute session and two sets of tires you try and put a good lap in without getting into traffic or falling victim to a yellow flag situation. I ended up missing the front row by 2 tenths, unfortunately everyone is so close that I had to settle for 5th place, missing out on my fast lap because of traffic.
Race one was on the same day as qualifying and at the start I dropped to 6th in the first corner. I was battling so hard to get by Jonny Reid for 5th but the kiwi driver was very good at making his car seem wider than it was! I pushed too hard and made a mistake under braking and fell off the track, I had a 4 second gap over 7th but would eventually come back on the track in 9th behind Jeff Simmons. I battled with Simmons, who was trying to get by Davidson and made a good pass to move up to 8th. Bobby Wilson in the mean time collided with a lap car costing him a few positions moving me up again to 7th. Then an opportunity came up to get by Davidson as we approached a lap car. The gap was there but got put off line by the lap car of Battistini and fell back behind Simmons in 8th where I would finish. The first race was a heart breaker for me because I knew I had the pace of the front runners, like so many times this year on the road courses. I outpaced Antinucci all weekend and he ended up on the podium, it just made me quite mad at myself for that small mistake behind Reid. It's just a matter of time and hopefully Sonama will help me me finally shine on the road course.
Race two was chaos! The sky opened up and it was one of the worst storms before a race I've ever seen. Our team was watching the weather closely and decided it would dry up during the race so we would go with a set-up that was not quite suited for the rain. Even though the rear bar was disconnected it was not really a good decision to stay with our spring package and aggressive cambers. The start was crazy, I think I was the only one to stay flat on the straight because going into the first corner I went from 8th the 4th. I ran a conservative next few corners to feel it out and people were spinning off everywhere. Coming on to the front straight I spun myself and now I found myself pushing to catch up. I caught back up after a yellow flag and then o the restart avoided more spinning cars and had to go off myself. Things were crazy, eventually I would get stuck and go one lap down. The whole field except the pole sitter fell off the track at least once, this is no joke, the whole field of 22 cars. In the end I would place 11th regretting not going to a full rain set-up. I walk away from Mid-Ohio 5th in points and not far out of third place in the Championship. Going into the second race I was in 4th just 3 points out of third so I was disappointed that wasn't the one that benefited for this crazy race but I tell myself it could of been a lot worse!
Next race is the big oval in Kentucky were I have enjoyed many good finishes, hopefully we can continue the success on ovals where I have been on the podium the last two events.
Thanks for reading!
-credit: arie luyendyk jr