LEXINGTON, OHIO (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – A good start to the Honda 200 weekend at Mid-Ohio for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Five-time IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon turned the fastest lap in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda during the first practice this morning.
Dixon’s fast lap of 1-minute, 06.973-seconds was quicker than Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot (-0.1482-seconds), who was second and Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud (-0.1692-seconds) who was third fastest.
Dixon is the all-time winningest IndyCar driver at Mid-Ohio with five wins (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
“It’s a track that really feels like home to me,” said Dixon. “I’ve said over the years that it’s a rhythm track, and it’s very technical.”
Chip Ganassi Racing has won 10-times on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn, natural terrain road course with Alex Zanardi (1996 & 1997), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Dixon, Dario Franchitti (2010) and Charlie Kimball (2013) capturing checkered flags.
“Mid-Ohio is a place that we as a team have always felt that all of our cars have a shot at winning, and there aren’t many tracks out there where your confidence level is that high as a team,” said Dixon. “You have to get a lot of things right to go to victory lane there.”
Dixon is coming off consecutive 2nd place finishes in the last two races (Toronto & Iowa) but hasn’t been able to make-up ground on points leader Josef Newgarden, who he trails by 98-points.
“We need a big finish for the championship with five to go starting this weekend in the PNC Bank car,” said Dixon. “Mid-Ohio would be a great place to start a run of strong results.”
Dixon’s teammate, rookie Felix Rosenqvist, will be sporting a new look this weekend on the No. 10 Honda as Clover will be the primary sponsor at Mid-Ohio.
Clover is a customized point-of-sale system for business including retail, restaurant and service businesses.
Mid-Ohio is one of the few tracks the Rosenqvist has had a chance to drive an IndyCar prior to racing there.
“This is the track where I sort of got my introduction to the team, I guess you could say,” said Rosenqvist. “I’ve tested a few times in Scott’s car over the years before coming to IndyCar full time. It’s a track I’m familiar with and one I think we should be able to compete at and get a good result.”
Rosenqvist is locked into a battle for the “Rookie-of-the-Year” award with Arrow Schmidt Petersen Motorsports Marcus Ericsson, Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta and Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci.
“The IndyCar Rookie of the Year race is tight, and we want to continue to lead that,” said Rosenqvist. “Starting toward the front at Mid-Ohio is key for the race as well as for track position, so qualifying is very important this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting going.”
Three rounds of knockout-style qualifying takes place Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBCSN and can be heard on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network.
There is a warm-up Sunday from Noon to 12:30 p.m. ET with the race at 4:05 p.m. on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network.