Andretti Autosport had all of the attention two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway as Ryan Hunter-Reay earned the team’s sixth consecutive win at the track. This past weekend, the talk surrounded Team Penske in its quest to win its first Brickyard 400, to go along with the team’s 16 wins at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Roger Penske was aiming for the trifecta – the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400 all in the same year.
Well, one team owner has already been there, done that.
Chip Ganassi is about to take center stage, whether he likes it or not. His race team has compiled 99 wins in open-wheel, so the next one has everyone waiting on their toes, oozing with anticipation. The storybook way of earning this illustrious achievement could be unfolding before our very eyes.
This weekend, the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. If you think this is just another stop on the schedule, you are mistaken.
They might as well rename it to include some variation with the name Ganassi. After all, his team has won 10 races here, more than any other team. Not only that, they have won the last six IndyCar races at the track. What better way, what better place, to celebrate number 100 than the place you have dominated for years. In it’s own weird way, it does have somewhat of a home court advantage feel to it.
If you’re looking for the driver that will deliver the win this weekend for Ganassi, you likely won’t have to look further than Scott Dixon. Not only has he won here five times, but he did it last year starting from the back of the field. He has finished on the podium here six times in the last eight years. His average finish at Mid-Ohio is 2.5 – which is incredible. The interesting thing is that the three years where he didn’t win here, he never led a lap in any of those races.
Charlie Kimball won the race here in 2013, and also has finishes of 11th and seventh in his two other starts. He has completed every lap in those three races, and has shown he is a threat when the series heads to the track.
Finally, we get to Tony Kanaan. The veteran driver simply hasn’t had the best results at Mid-Ohio, but he has started more races than anyone at the track. Unfortunately for him, though, in 13 career races here, he has never finished on the podium. In fact, he has only led a grand total of 13 laps at Mid-Ohio, which all came in the 2007 event. He has an average finish of 12.2 in those 13 races, has never started on the front row, and has a total of four DNFs, including the last two Mid-Ohio races. He will need a little luck on his side if he is going to grab his first win of the season, and magical number 100 for Chip.
This will be the first IndyCar race for Sage Karam at Mid-Ohio, so he gets a pass when looking at past results. He is coming off of a career best finish, though, two weeks ago at Iowa, where he earned his first career podium in the series. Momentum can never be overlooked.
This season in particular, we have seen that anyone is capable of winning at any time. The Verizon IndyCar Series is the most competitive racing entity out there, and it is proven every time the field takes to the track. There is one driver though, that is deemed to be the “favorite” heading into this weekend. It just so happens that he also drives for the team that is widely considered to be the favorite. The stars have aligned.