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Mid-Ohio: Race Notes

The start of the 2012 race at Mid-Ohio.
With only four races left in the 2014 season, IndyCar heads to Mid-Ohio with Helio Castroneves in the lead.  Castroneves has 533 points and a 13 point lead on second place driver Will Power.  Mid-Ohio has the best chance of changing up the championship battle, as Castroneves has an average finish of ninth over the last three years at this track. Respectable, but it may not be enough to fend off Will Power.

Schedule:
  • Qualifying: 2 p.m. 8/2 EDT
  •  Race: 3:50 p.m. 8/3 EDT

The Race:
Our statistics go back to 2007, so that's the data points we'll be looking at.  Since then, no race has been won by a driver starting outside of the top ten.  Scott Dixon was the lowest starting-place winner (from 6th) back in 2007.  This phenomenon could be attributed to just how hard is is to pass at Mid-Ohio: 

Passing:

The average lead changes per race here is 5.4, significantly lower than other circuits on the calendar.  The track also changes with each passing lap in a race situation, according to the driver's themselves.  In the beginning of the race the track "is such a slippery, difficult condition." By the end of the race, there's so much rubber down, it's a really grippy circuit." said IndyCar driver Takuma Sato.  If the driver's qualify outside of the top ten, history is not going to be on their side Sunday afternoon.  

Caution Laps:

Mid Ohio, much luck Toronto was (until the rain races where we saw 20 caution laps in one race), is pretty consistent with the lack of cautions, none in the last two years and an average of 2.3 a race before that.  Green flag pit-stops have been less common than yellows this season (as expected), with most drivers having 52-65% of their pit-stops come under yellow. If the cautions don't come out, will it benefit the driver's who have had more green flag pit-stop practice this year?  Honestly, we have no idea.  But if it does, look for Mike Conway and Graham Rahal to be fast on pit-lane (or good with strategy), they rank among the most with green flag stops.

Kimball:
Last year Charlie Kimball took home his first win at Mid Ohio, and also his only win of the season. Since then and throughout most of this season Kimball has been pretty good but still not much of a threat to the points standings.  He ranks 13th in the driver's standings and has a top ten percentage of 64%.  

Dixon:
Scott Dixon has also won at Mid Ohio four times, the most of any current driver in the field. Even with that success, Dixon has been having a poor season this year compared to last-one podium to six, and no wins to four last season.  There are only a few races left to turn this around with the championship coming to a close soon.  Scott Dixon runs 6th in the standings just behind IndyCar returnee Juan Pablo Montoya.  Mid Ohio has been a place of success for Dixon, so expect him to be a sleeper in the race and maybe have a chance at the win yet again.  

Who To Watch:
Will Power / Scott Dixon / Charlie Kimball / Helio Castroneves 

IndyCar Features: 

          - Drew Bennison

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