PREVIEW: 2020 NTT Data IndyCar Series – Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

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Photo Credit: Matt Fraver / Courtesy of IndyCar

After COVID-19 concerns originally postponed the event, the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is finally taking place, with another exciting doubleheader weekend ahead the 3.634 km Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. With five races to go in the 2020 season, the question still remains: Who can stop Scott Dixon and his 96 point championship lead? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

What happened last year?

Last year, Scott Dixon held off Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist in an amazing last lap battle for the race win.

Rosenqvist, who was on a three-stop strategy, was nine seconds behind Dixon with approximately twenty-five laps to go. Dixon, who was on a two-stop strategy, found his gap eroded to two seconds with five laps to go, but still had four lapped cars between himself and Rosenqvist.

However, Dixon’s tyres were so worn that the lap traffic tried to un-lap themselves, which allowed Rosenqvist to close in and finally pass them all coming to the white flag.

The young Swede was right on the rear wing of the veteran Dixon at the start of the final lap, and tried to make a move in turn two for the lead. The two cars made contact, but were able to continue on.

In the end, the veteran Dixon would hold off Rosenqvist all the way to the checkered flag, winning by only 0.093 of a second. This would be Dixon’s sixth career victory at Mid-Ohio, as Rosenqvist would be forced to wait for his first IndyCar win.

You can read the full race report here.

What should I look out for this weekend?

Mid-Ohio is one of the most physically demanding tracks for the drivers, as the lack of power steering provides a challenge around a track where you are constantly turning. Under normal circumstances this race would be 90 laps long, which is taxing on the body in it’s own right, but as we’ve learned with 2020 nothing is “normal”. Each race in the doubleheader is 75 laps, with a qualifying session before each race. Adding to this, there is a practice session on Saturday as well. Muscle fatigue will certainly play a factor, but how it will affect the race remains to be seen.

However, having had doubleheader races for majority of the season, perhaps drivers will be more prepared to handle the physical demands of the back to back races.

“Oddly enough, we’re getting used to doing doubleheaders, so from the driving side of it, I think a lot of the drivers are getting accustomed to packing a lot in over a short time frame,” Ryan Hunter-Reay said in an interview with RACER.

“I think it’s just being super conscious of getting all your levels back up, whether it be getting the right nutrition in you, fluids for the next day. I’ve been drinking a lot of Pedialyte over the race weekends, that type of thing. Once you’re done with the first (race), you’re immediately switched to the race the next day.”

Another key point will be pit strategy. Strategy has always been important to a win at Mid-Ohio, and the shortened race distance completely changes the strategy. Will we see everyone go for two stops? Or will there be enough laps to make three work? How will strategies change on Sunday compared to Saturday? Who will be willing to roll the dice? All will be answered this weekend.

What is the schedule for this weekend?

Saturday 12 September

10:45 EST / 15:45 GMT – Practice

14:00 EST / 19:00 GMT – Qualifying

16:30 EST / 21:30 GMT – Race 1

Sunday 13 September

10:15 EST / 15:15 GMT – Qualifying

13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT – Race 2

Where can I watch the race?

Coverage in the UK for the races will be on Sky Sports F1.

In the United States, coverage for Saturday’s race will be on NBCSN, and Sunday’s race will be on NBC. All practice and qualifying coverage will be on NBC Sports Gold.

Where can I keep up with all the action?

You can keep up to date with all the action across the weekend right here at The Checkered Flag.

Be sure to also follow IndyCar on Twitter (@IndyCar) for live updates throughout the event.

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