If Dixon dominates at Mid-Ohio, does anyone stay awake to see it?
“Sorry to make it so boring toward the end of the race, but I didn’t mind (winning by more than 6 seconds)…”- Scott Dixon
And boring it certainly was. INDYCAR’s 2011 edition of racing at Mid-Ohio left a lot to be desired as Scott Dixon dominated in his usually iron-fisted fashion. Dixon had *the* car to beat all weekend, and it would have taken a chrome-horn to the gearbox to keep him from winning this race. The only guy that had anything for Dixon was his teammate, Dario Franchitti who finished second.
Other than Dixon’s run away win, the best storyline involved rookie James Hincliffe who had gotten forced off course at the start of the race. Situated at the tail end of the field, the Newman-Haas team rolled the dice and used alternate pit strategy to eventually get Hinch to the front where they hoped that some yellows might help him get to the finish. Well, Hinchcliffe got the yellows, but he didn’t have the car to keep pace, and eventually made a mistake by pushing too hard in the keyhole. Hinchcliffe’s Dallara and his chance at a podium finish slid off into the kitty litter.
And what about about Will Power. Exactly, what about him? Power never quite found that last 2% that he usually is able to squeeze out of his car this weekend. Power had spent the latter part of last seaon, and most of the 2011 season dominating qualifying and races on road courses. The Penske squad did everything right, but their fuel strategy and lack of elite pace kept them off the podium this week.
“Today was tough”, said Power. “The Verizon car was fast even while I was saving fuel. 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. Basically, today we suffered for doing a great job of driving a smart race. I have to thank the Verizon crew, they gave me great pit stops today we just got caught out by that last yellow flag.”
I couldn’t keep my eyes open
I hear a lot of talk about how INDYCAR needs to race more on natural terrain road courses, but most of them produce racing that is better for inducing afternoon naps than excitement. Mid-Ohio, Barber Motorsports Park are *not* Road America, and never will be. They are all beautiful courses nestled in some wonderful surroundings, but never seem to produce much more than a parade of 20-some cars with brief periods of passing that only happens in the pits.
As I watched the race yesterday I kept hearing something one of my “NASCAR friends” said about INDYCAR racing: “I never seem to see much close racing when I watch an INDYCAR race”. If they were all like Mid-Ohio, he might be right. It’s going to be great to get to Loudon, an oval that is a perfect fit for Indy Cars.
by Scott Keller | motorpundit.com | http://motorpundit.com/?p=2332