LiveBlog: Mid Ohio 2009

Posted by Iannucci | 8/09/2009 | , | 12 comments »
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Welcome to the aptly named Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, where the heroes of the Indy Car series will race in the middle Ohio on a Sports Car Course. Hence the name.

The big story today is that shuffling of drivers this weekend. After the passing of his father, Mario Moraes has taken leave to be with his family this weekend, handing the keys to the #5 off to Paul Tracy, who in his last race collided with Mario and sent him out of the race. Color that ironic.

Meanwhile Robert Doornbos decided he'd had enough of being Graham Rahal's teammate and decided he's be a much better fit with EJ Viso. Viso and Doornbos should provide the most exciting tag team since the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Back at NHL, Oriol Servia has taken control of the "06". This marks rougly the 161st racing team of Servia's career.

Since this is a road course that means Richard Antinucci is in and Jaques Lazier is out at Team 3G. Stanton Barrett is still nowhere to be seen, but he might be chillin' with Tomas Scheckter and Will Power since neither of them are entered today.

And above all, Jack Arute is back.

With the lineups sorted out, it's time to start.

0: Today's sign of the Apocalypse: Ed Carpenter is being interviewed in the pre-race show for a road course race.

0: Paul Tracy is being interviewed by Arute. That KV Racing firesuit doesn't exactly have a slimming effect. I don't know about you, but I'd love to have dinner with these two personalities so long as I wasn't buying.

0: And by my count we have just witnessed the 10,000th airing of that IZOD commercial. * blows kazoo *

0: The supremely talented Lewis Franck observes: "Does Dale change his shirt or is he like Adrian Monk when it comes to wardrobe."

0: Discussing tires, NostraBeekhuis just told me I'm breathing 78% nitrogen. I suddenly find myself coughing uncontrollably.

0: Was that footage of Graham as an infant? If so, why was he dressed like a girl? Should we start calling him "Grahamica"?

0: Thank you to those of you on twitter who informed me that was Graham's sister Michaela in the girly outfit. Order is restored to the universe.

0: Footage show that Danica and Milka had a little side by side incident on the track during practice just as they did last year. Sadly, no post-practice discussion involving towels this year. Don't hate me but I was kinda hoping they'd go after each other with folding chairs this time.

0: At some point this pre-race show turns into an actual race, right?

0: On a personal note my offspring, all fans of various (winless) AGR drivers, have just informed me they are all on the Justin Wilson bandwagon today. I'm sure they aren't alone, especially since the the man they lovingly call "Freakishly Large" is starting in the front row next to "BOOOO! Briscoe".

0: Graphic shows Scott Dixon has 19 career open-wheel wins. AJ Foyt has over 60. 'Nuff said.

0: I think some librarian just plainly stated "drivers start your engines". Get that woman some MonaVie!

0: And starting on the backstretch ??? we are GREEN!

1: Briscoe leads the field, followed by Wilson, Dixon, Dario, Rahal.

2: Tony Kanaan has a little braking issues at "the keyhole" and does a little off-roading. Avoids hitting the tires or stalling the car, so the "TiKi Torch" soldiers on.

4: Not much passing happening, althbough Graham Rahal has done a little lawn mowing here and there. Still in 5th with Helio well beind as the front five start to pull away.

6: After running up all in his attenuator for most of the race, Justin Wilson pulls up alongside of Ryan Briscoe, noses beyond, him! Dale Coyne car "flips the script" and takes the lead.

8: Justin is now up by over two seconds. SEE YA!

10: Wilson now ahead by nearly four seconds. He's not a "road course specialist", he's a "road course ass whoopin' machine".

13: On a side note, Servia is 11th while Doornbos is 16th. If you're not paying attention to that I'm pretty sure folks at HVM and NHL are.

16: Wilson by over fives seconds, making it look easy. According to Dale Coyne he's also conserving fuel. Probably brewing some tea in the cockpit as well. Politely lapping Milka - the first lapped car of the day.

19: And now in the span of about 30 seconds Briscoe, Dixon, Dario, Rahal all lap Milka. It looks like she just pitted a lap ago, so she's been lapped TWICE so far.

24: Leaders should be making pit stops soon, so we'll see if Wilson's massive lead holds up.

26: Just noticed that Dan Wheldon is in 20th, the last car on the lead lap and one spot ahead of Milka. These road courses may have completely killed his career.

28: Paul Tracy is all up on Viso for 8th. This is gonna be awesome...and we cut away??? Ack! Wilson pits and surrenders the lead.

30: Helio and Rahal made pit stops. Apparently Tracy got around Viso. Would have been nice to see some passing.

31: Briscoe and Dario pit, and coming out Wilson gets around them.

32: Scott Dixon - the current leader - pits, exits, and is promptly passed by Wilson. Because Justin is that awesome.

35: Gil de Ferran on screen talking about his soon to be IndyCar team and Jack Arute drops a new name on him: Will Power.

36: Dixon is hanging in there, less than car length behind Wilson.

37: Milka Duno sets a nice pick on Wilson and Dixon gets around them both and takes the lead. It's not enough to be slow, now Milka has to help Dixon to the lead. Time to start throwing things.

41: YELLOW! Helio loses the rear of the car and slides into the dirt, then pulls back out. So why do we have a full course yellow?

42: Dixon, Wilson, Briscoe, Dario, Rahal. Hunter-Reay is in 6th in an AJ Foyt car.

44: Back to GREEN, and in the first turn Rahal gets around Dario for fourth. Rahal feeling the hometown love.

45: YELLOW! Danica is sliding backwards in the dirt. Car is covert in dust. Such a dirty little girl. Replay shows she was totally punted by Conweas, err, Conway.

47: And Danica is dragged out of the bunker, re-fired, and on her way a couple laps down. Could use a car wash though.

49: And once again we go GREEN, but with no passing this time. Mike Conway has to serve a driver-through penalty, though he's still getting the better end of the deal because he's well ahead of Danica.

52: Dixon is now leading Wilson by over a second. That giant sucking sound you hear is the fun leaving the track.

56: Milka is now FOUR laps down, even with the yellows.

59: Dixon ahead by SIX seconds over Wilson.

60: Mutoh is in 7th? did this happen??!?

61: Rahal pits for the final time today, moving Hyphen Reay to 5th.

62: Hunter-Reay pits, putting Mutoh in the Top 5. Hideki is in the Top 5 and we haven't seen him all day.

63: Wilson pits, but appears to go REALLY slow entering the pits. Gets fuel and tires and STALLS the car!!! Gets it back together but not before he makes a 30 second pit stop. Others pitting and leaving around him. Much wailing and lamentation by fans of the underdog.

64: Dixon pits, six point something seconds and he's back out. Still leading, but now Marco is in second. Briscoe in third. Marco still needs to make another put stop so don't get too excited.

65: Justin Wilson has dropped back to 15th. Dixon, Andretti, Briscoe, Dario, Rahal. Hunter-Reay and Mutoh appear to be a few tenths of a second apart, battling for 6th, so that might be kinda nice to watch Mr Broadcast Director.

69: We have been informed that Scott Dixon, now leading by 10 seconds over Marco and 13 seconds over Briscoe. And he's run the fastest lap of the race. And I might go make myself a sandwich.

70: Graham goes dirt tracking, but does not stall and gets back on the track.

71: Coochie Cam. This would be more meaningful if the drivers had to touch the clutch to shift gears. But they don't, so it's not. At least to me.

73: Milka appears to have been finally parked. From @DiecastDude
76: Marco has made a pit stop, and now the leaders are Ganassi, Penske, Ganassi. Hunter-Reay and Mutoh round out the Top 5.

77: Finally we see Mutoh. Right behind Hunter-Reay, battling for fourth. Meanwhile we can clearly see VItor Meira sitting in the pits next too AJ. Seeing Vitor is probably the best thing I've seen all day. No witty comment required.

79: Dario trying to pass Briscoe, with both of them doing a little sideways dirt track action. Still no passing though as they run in 2nd and 3rd about a day and a half behind Scott Dixon.

82: And...not much happening. I'm sure you'll be thrilled to learn that Wilson is back up to 13th. Also, Servia 11th and Doornbos 14th.

84: White flag, symbolic of how much more we can take of watching Dixon lead by 27 seconds (literally).

85: And it's win #20 for Scott Dixon. Let's wait for the others...waiting...still waiting...and it's Briscoe with Dario still stuck behind him. Then Hunter-Reay and Mutoh.

Congrats to Scott Dixon and his entire Ganassi team. They pretty much flawless today. Briscoe is in second yet again, because that's something he does well - finish in second to Ganassi cars.

Kudos also to Hunter-Reay and Mutoh for valiant Top 5 finishes today. Take what you can get while the Big Two continue to invade podiums all across North America.

The next race will be in Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, where your humble host will be LIVE on the scene. But that's two weeks from now, so in the meantime, take care and drive safely. Thank you very much, and good night.


  1. raun // August 09, 2009 11:44 AM  

    How is she still allowed on the track?!? Does she realize that her arcade tickets were only good for 3 laps around the track?

    No, wait...keep her out...I want to see her block Danica.

  2. raun also // August 09, 2009 11:52 AM  

    wow...all that dust on the No. 7 machine. Did I just change the channel to the future?

  3. Scott // August 09, 2009 12:26 PM  

    I don't want to hear any compliments of Versus coverage today. They overcompensated on pre-race to the point of boring viewers to death. They restart under yellows and repeatedly cut away from passing action to show nothing.

  4. Scott // August 09, 2009 12:27 PM  

    Nevermind... we got two laps of Danica's Beavercam. That's got to be worth something

  5. Badgerman // August 09, 2009 1:11 PM  

    You can blame the Mid Ohio track selection, the evil empire of red cars, Brian Barnhart, Tony George, Versus (and I do agree that their coverage of MO sucked) or lay blame at the feet of many others and make any other myriad excuses for the lack of passing and racing performance in general, but the bottom line is that the league of non-red cars have failed to keep pace with the development improvements that the red cars have and as such will 'never' consistantly be capable of beating the red cars....

  6. redd // August 09, 2009 2:16 PM  

    Versus missed a few things today, but at least showed some racing back in the pack. And I don't think the pre-race show is required viewing.

    And as dominating as the "big two" are in Indycar, is it that much different in N-car with one extended Hendricks family of Johnson, Gordon, Martin and Stewart?

  7. Anonymous // August 09, 2009 3:18 PM  

    I thought Milka was the most "entertaining" thing about today's parade. Seriously.

    I wish Maddog Marty was still around too, to help liven up these non-ovals. Hell, put a few Indy Lights sleds out there too.

    Indy Car road racing blows. ALWAYS has and ALWAYS will, no matter how "new" or "sexy" the car is or is perceived to be. Mid Ohio is a place barely still suited for sports cars and SCCA weekend warriors; let alone 220 MPH Indy Cars. But, we have to cater to Honda's whims, don't we?

    Thank goodness nobody is left to watch this mess of a sport, as it slowly swirls down the toilet. Its a sad joke guys like AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rutherford and the Unser's used to be the top dogs in "Indy Cars" and how lame the current crop of "stars" are.

  8. Anonymous // August 09, 2009 3:24 PM  

    Who is the bigger dork in the booth? Robbie Buhl or Yawn Beekhuis? Both are probably nice guys, but both look like dweebs on camera. Are we catering to the pocket protector crowd?

    How is Mike Conway still employed and why was he hired anyway? That guy would barely be competent enough for Atlantics; let alone Indy Cars.

    I say he gets one more race (at Sears Point) and he is shown the door and replaced for the last 3 ovals of the year.

    Moraes should have been fired long ago; but we all know his checkbook won't allow that. He'll have a job in Indy Car, no matter how much damage he does, as long as he wants.

    Conway is not (reportedly) bringing money, so I have no clue what is keeping him employed. His time has to be about up.

  9. Anonymous // August 09, 2009 3:29 PM  

    I thought Bobby Doornbos was supposed to be good?

    He barely was faster then Carpenter today.

    He has shown very little all year; even with the NHL team.

    What's the story? He has been one of the biggest disappointments to come into Indy Cars in a long time. He looks like a fraud to me. Maybe he can turn it around with Cannon. I kinda doubt it though.

  10. Mark // August 09, 2009 3:58 PM  

    Just got back from the race. More wheel-to-wheel action leaving the parking lot than on-track :)

    You really have to witness it in person to see how bad Milk & Donuts is. She was running lap times slower than the Lights cars, but I'm glad they left her out there because she was the best passing area today.

    Hate to agree with the Champ Car nuts, but the cars need more horses (or something). In the CART days they'd be fishtailing through the esses trying to get the power down and today everyone looked glued to the track.

    I really like Mid-Ohio, but the races are usually lousy, and the facility wasn't ready for the size of crowd (lack of bathrooms and trash cans).

  11. Anonymous // August 10, 2009 5:43 AM  

    Crap it 8:45 Monday morning - I fell asleep at lap 15 and now I am late for work. Who won? Was it a good race?

  12. Anonymous // August 10, 2009 5:07 PM  

    First...thanks, Scott...your toilet mouth re: Danica's foot cam shows real class..where were you outhouse full of degenerates?
    2nd...I know you all hate to say the "N" word....NASCAR!!!, but as a longtime Indy car fan, I am totally bored out of my wits with the "same ol'/same ol"..Penske and Forsythe destroyed Penske and Ganassi will destroy the IRL...God knows it doesn't even closely resemble the original IRL..over half the field is foreign and there is NO competition!...I watched Watkins Glen today and saw more action in 10 laps than I saw the entire race yesterday!..."Redd" need to watch more closely...there IS competition throughout the field in NASCAR (OH GOD, I said it again!)and I am seldom bored. I love Indy cars, but something HAS to be done! I can't belive that Foyt and Mears and the Unsers aren't totally embarassed by the fiasco that this has all come to!