2010 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
2010 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Click above for high-res image gallery

With just six races left on the schedule, the IndyCar Series moved to its penultimate road course event: Mid-Ohio. While series leader Will Power was in position to wrap up the inaugural Mario Andretti trophy for the series road course champion, he also had a good shot at putting the overall championship out of reach as well. While that was a pretty big deal, everyone was still talking about the crazy ending to the last race at Edmonton.

To recap, Helio Castroneves was black-flagged for taking the inside line while leading into turn 1 on a restart, but he ignored the order and stayed on track just in case. When he drove into the vicinity of victory lane three laps later, he was deflected aside. Helio jumped out of his car, looking for anyone with a headset who might be able to explain why the race leader would have to give up his hard-fought lead so late in the race. He didn't get much of an answer – at least not right away. Chief Steward Brian Barnhart reviewed the tapes and stuck to his on-field call. For good measure, he fined Castroneves $60,000 for his tantrum.

While that pretty much eliminated Helio from championship contention, there was still a race to run this weekend. Follow the jump to see how things played out at Mid-Ohio.


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[Images: Chris Graythen, Rick Dole, Robert Laberge/Getty Images, Jay LaPrete/AP]


While several incidents (both on-track and off) took out several competitors in the early rounds of qualifying, the Firestone Fast Six looked familiar: Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Will Power. The other contender for the Peak Performance Pole Position was Takuma Sato, the former Formula 1 driver who has displayed great speed all season, albeit with few championship points to show for it. While these drivers swapped fastest times, Power wasn't clearly out front until the last two laps.

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When the session ended, the final order was Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves in spots one through six. Will Power crashed pretty hard in practice earlier in the day, and now, just by starting the race on Sunday, he would clinch the road race championship. Would anyone catch this guy?

When the green flag waved, Sato slipped past Dario for second, but Franchitti wasn't about to let that stand. After a couple of exciting laps, Dario was back in second and reeling in the race leader. Everybody pretty much settled in after that, plugging away until the first pit window on lap 24. Although stops on a road course like this aren't too painful under green, most of the drivers generally prefer to stop under yellow. As if on cue, Justin Wilson and E.J. Viso tangled, both cars sliding into precarious enough places to bring out the race's first caution.


Mid-Ohio's pit lane is very narrow and the pit boxes were extra-short because of the 27-car field, so a full-field stop was going to be interesting. While almost everybody avoided contact, Ryan Hunter-Reay wasn't so lucky. The beleaguered driver got caught in the middle of a Penske sandwich trying to exit his slot, his left front suspension taking a bad enough bump to send him back into the pits the next time around. The team did a great job, swapping in the new parts along with a new nose and getting Ryan back out on the lead lap.

Up front, Will Power had the first pit box and his team gave him a perfect stop, but Dario Franchitti still managed to slip past him as they returned to the track... in third and fourth place. Two cars stayed out during the yellow – Tony Kanaan made an unscheduled pit stop much earlier in the race, and Alex Tagliani pitted just two laps before the caution. That left him at the front of the field on the restart with a good shot at staying up there. The tires barely had a chance to get warm on the restart, though, before Jay Howard was in the kitty litter, bringing out another full-course yellow. The incident also claimed Takuma Sato, unfortunately, who had made the best IndyCar start of his young career.


Halfway through the 85-Lap race, the top ten were Tags, T.K., Dario, Power, Helio, Ryan Briscoe, Simona de Silvestro, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon and Bertrand Baguette. A lap later it was time for Kanaan to stop again, though, dropping him back to 21st and moving everybody else up a spot.

As the field entered the second pit window, the leaders started filing in one-by-one. Dario ended up out front after that round of stops, but just as the leaders came through the backmarkers, Milka Duno almost took out Will Power. She was on the inside line (as she was supposed to be), but that forced Will out into the marbles. He had a nasty wiggle but recovered and swept past her safely.

Shortly thereafter, on Lap 63 first-time IndyCar runner Francesco Dracone spun into the gravel. Although Graham Rahal had done basically the same thing a corner or two ahead of him, Rahal was able to continue while Dracone wasn't. That brought out the third full-course yellow of the day and set up a final dash to the checkers with the field bunched up, topped off and aching to grab some points.

Dracone was pulled out of the sand, but right after the field went back to green he was pirouetting again. This time, he avoided the beach but came to rest right across the track. The field was once again reset and ready for the run to the finish. Dario must have felt the pressure up front with successive restarts and Will Power filling his mirrors.

Honda Indy 200

The next restart was clean, and everybody was on their best behavior to keep it green until the checkered flag flew. Dario Franchitti led Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Alex Tagliani and Scott Dixon for the run to the finish with 13 laps to go. With just two laps left, Will had cozied up to Dario's rear, the two drivers a few seconds ahead of Castroneves in third place . Power pushed hard into every corner, but Dario managed to stay ahead as they crossed the finish line.

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Franchitti picked up some sorely-needed points, but Will Power wasn't too far back. Power clinched the road-racing title for 2010 with one more race to go at Sonoma before the final four oval contests of the season. Power hasn't been as good on the left-turn-only circuits, so who knows whether Franchitti will be able to make a run at the overall championship by the time things wrap up in Miami on October 2.

Join us in two weeks for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – and don't forget to check out the tables and high-res gallery below.


Related Gallery2010 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio


Qualifying:
QP Car Driver Sponsor Team Time Speed
1 12 Will Power Verizon Team Penske VerizonTeam Penske 1:07.1997 120.965
2 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.2846 120.812
3 5 Takuma Sato (R) Lotus-KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 1:07.4337 120.545
4 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Team IZOD Andretti Autosport 1:07.4411 120.532
5 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.4711 120.478
6 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Team Penske 1:07.5370 120.361
7 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Team Penske 1:07.4687 120.483
8 8 E.J. Viso PDVSA KVRT KV Racing Technology 1:07.4713 120.478
9 26 Marco Andretti Meijer Andretti Autosport 1:07.5436 120.349
10 78 Simona de Silvestro (R) Team Stargate Worlds/HVM HVM Racing 1:07.6190 120.215
11 22 Justin Wilson Team Z-Line Designs/DRR Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Mtrsprts 1:07.6239 120.208
12 06 Hideki Mutoh Formula Dream/Panasonic Newman/Haas Racing 1:07.7491 119.984
13 4 Dan Wheldon National Guard Panther Racing Panther Racing 1:08.2415 119.118
14 77 Alex Tagliani CV Logistics/FAZZT Race Team FAZZT Race Team 1:07.7789 119.931
15 36 Bertrand Baguette (R) Conquest Racing RACB Conquest Racing 1:08.3069 119.004
16 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology KV Racing Technology 1:07.7821 119.925
17 27 Adam Carroll (R) Team AFS AFS Andretti Autosport 1:08.4825 118.699
18 24 J.R. Hildebrand (R) Roll Coater/DRR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:07.7943 119.904
19 2 Raphael Matos HP de Ferran Dragon de Ferran Dragon Racing 1:08.5386 118.602
20 11 Tony Kanaan Team 7-Eleven Andretti Autosport 1:07.9321 119.661
21 19 Alex Lloyd (R) Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing 1:08.7818 118.182
22 7 Danica Patrick Team GoDaddy.com Andretti Autosport 1:07.9780 119.580
23 34 Francesco Dracone (R) Conquest Racing Conquest Racing 1:11.3968 113.854
24 14 Vitor Meira ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1:08.0414 119.468
25 02 Graham Rahal National Tire & Battery KV Racing Technology 1:08.0459 119.461
26 66 Jay Howard (R) Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing Sarah Fisher Racing 1:09.5028 116.956
27 18 Milka Duno CITGO Dale Coyne Racing No time No speed

Finishing Order:
FP Car Driver Team Laps Time Status Points
1 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 85 01:54:32.2568 Running 50
2 12 Will Power Team Penske 85 01:54:32.7802 Running 41
3 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 85 01:54:36.3451 Running 35
4 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team 85 01:54:37.8991 Running 34
5 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 85 01:54:38.1718 Running 30
6 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 85 01:54:38.7668 Running 28
7 2 Raphael Matos de Ferran Dragon Racing 85 01:54:39.0086 Running 26
8 78 Simona De Silvestro Team Stargate Worlds/HVM 85 01:54:42.4019 Running 24
9 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 85 01:54:43.2123 Running 22
10 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 85 01:54:45.4912 Running 20
11 36 Bertrand Baguette Conquest Racing 85 01:54:47.0828 Running 19
12 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 85 01:54:48.3029 Running 18
13 19 Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne Racing 85 01:54:48.8138 Running 17
14 4 Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 85 01:54:51.6086 Running 16
15 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Enterprises 85 01:54:52.3350 Running 15
16 24 J.R. Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 85 01:54:52.4737 Running 14
17 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Autosport 85 01:54:57.6854 Running 13
18 06 Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas Racing 85 01:54:58.8486 Running 12
19 27 Adam Carroll Andretti Autosport 85 01:54:59.5870 Running 12
20 02 Graham Rahal Newman/Haas Racing 85 01:54:59.8909 Running 12
21 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 85 01:55:00.4667 Running 12
22 34 Francesco Dracone Conquest Racing 82 01:55:33.6012 Running 12
23 18 Milka Duno Dale Coyne Racing 81 01:55:14.2990 Running 12
24 66 Jay Howard Sarah Fisher Racing 38 01:20:36.1373 Contact 12
25 5 Takuma Sato KV Racing Technology 28 00:38:26.0119 Contact 10
26 8 E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology 22 00:26:17.1562 Contact 10
27 22 Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 22 00:26:17.5596 Contact 10


Driver's Standings:
CP Driver Champ Lead Oval Lead Road Lead Points Gap
1 Will Power X X 461 0
2 Dario Franchitti 420 -41
3 Scott Dixon X 379 -82
4 Ryan Briscoe 352 -109
5 Helio Castroneves 340 -121
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 336 -125
7 Tony Kanaan 304 -157
8 Marco Andretti 266 -195
9 Justin Wilson 262 -199
10 Dan Wheldon 259 -202
11 Danica Patrick 245 -216
12 Raphael Matos 229 -232
13 Alex Tagliani 228 -233
14 Mario Moraes 221 -240
15 Vitor Meira 220 -241
16 E.J. Viso 203 -258
17 Alex Lloyd 187 -274
18 Simona De Silvestro 179 -282
19 Hideki Mutoh 179 -282
20 Takuma Sato 152 -309
21 Mario Romancini 149 -312
22 Bertrand Baguette 138 -323
23 Graham Rahal 137 -324
24 Milka Duno 124 -337
25 Mike Conway 110 -351
26 Tomas Scheckter 63 -398
27 Paul Tracy 61 -400
28 Sarah Fisher 53 -408
29 John Andretti 35 -426
30 Ana Beatriz 33 -428
31 Jay Howard 32 -429
32 Adam Carroll 26 -435
33 Ed Carpenter 20 -441
34 Townsend Bell 18 -443
35 Sebastian Saavedra 15 -446
36 Davey Hamilton 14 -447
37 J.R. Hildebrand 14 -447
38 Bruno Junqueira 13 -448
39 Francesco Dracone 12 -449
40 A.J. Foyt IV 0 -461


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