Ryan Hunter-Reay, who’s third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings with four races left in the season, needs a solid result in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio to remain in serious contention for his second series title.
Sunny and dry conditions have been a rarity in IndyCar lately, but that’s what greeted the IndyCar drivers when they arrived at Mid-Ohio this morning. Very low-key start to the weekend so far, with just a handful of cars having ventured out in the first 12 minutes of practice. There has been a change at the top of the order, with Ganassi’s Ryan Briscoe the pacesetter at 1m08.3199s, still more cars that haven’t been out than cars that have though.
Toronto winner Sebastien Bourdais moves into P1 at 1m07.9288s. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Montoya tried to liven the session up with a little wiggle as he came out of the final kink, but he caught it and continued on. With 15 minutes left on the clock, we’re starting to see the remaining drivers venture out for the first time. Briscoe back to P1 at 1m06.9410s. Ryan Hunter-Reay goes to the top right at the end with a 1m06.5316s, and the chequered flag brings the morning to a close.
Simon Pagenaud, a two-time race winner this season and the runner-up to Charlie Kimball at Mid-Ohio last August, was second-quick (1:06.6731) in the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports entry. Scott Dixon, who has won four of the past seven races at Mid-Ohio, was third (1:06.7140) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Mikhail Aleshin, making his first start at Mid-Ohio, was fourth in the No. 7 SMP Racing car and Sebastien Bourdais was fifth in the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing car. Bourdais was the Verizon P1 Award winner and Honda Indy Toronto Race 1 winner two weeks ago.
Series points leader Helio Castroneves was 18th on the time chart and Team Penske teammate Will Power, who enters the 15th race of the season 19 points behind, was 13th.