Mid-Ohio: A flashback to old-school road courses

LEXINGTON, OHIO (AP) - Those IndyCar teams who don’t do well at Mid-Ohio say the track is too narrow, the turns to severe and the cars are too powerful for such a tight track.

But those who complain are seldom the drivers.

It’s a flashback for many of their days negotiating sports cars around their first road courses _ in Europe, South America, Canada or elsewhere in the United States.

“There are places that are a little bit bigger. This track probably feels about the right size for Formula 2000, or a smaller car,” said Scott Dixon, who has won the IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio in 2011, 2009 and 2007. “It’s quite little for our stuff, as far as width and things like that and general speed and the elevation and the flow of corners. But it’s pretty cool.”

Dario Franchitti feels the same way.

“It’s got everything,” he said. “It’s got fast corners, like Turn 1 and Turn 11, some slow stuff, some technique and rhythm areas, too, a lot of undulation. It’s definitely one of the old-school tracks. I think we all enjoy driving here.”

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Alex Tagliani, who qualified fourth but was bumped down 10 spots for an unapproved engine change, was asked what fans will see if it rains for Sunday’s race: “They’re going to be wet watching it, for sure.”

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FOLLOW THE LEADER: Eleven races into the 15-race IndyCar series, Ryan Hunter-Reay leads the standings with 362 points. He built that lead on the strength of consecutive wins at Milwaukee, Iowa and Toronto.

Helio Castroneves is second with 339 points, followed by Will Power (336), Scott Dixon (301), James Hinchcliffe (286), Tony Kanaan (279), Simon Pagenaud (276), Dario Franchitti (258), Ryan Briscoe (241) and Graham Rahal (237).

With just four races left, including Sunday’s showdown at Mid-Ohio, a lot of drivers are feeling the pressure to produce points quickly.

“The position that Hunter-Reay’s in right now, it’s not a big gap,” said Power, who won the pole at Mid-Ohio. “I think it can be. It just takes him to finish ahead of you a couple more times and you’re done.”

So that made it all the more important that Power do well in qualifying.

“I was determined to get the pole because I know track position is really important around here,” he said. “We just needed to be good in every situation and keep chipping away at the points lead that Hunter-Reay’s got.”

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