It’s an IndyCar twofer for your Monday afternoon, starting with yesterday’s Honda Indy 200 race at Mid-Ohio. Dario Franchitti’s pit crew turned in a remarkable performance, allowing him to pass race leader Will Power in the pits instead of on the track. The two remained in the first and second positions throughout much of the race, and Power made a noble attempt to pass Franchitti in the closing laps, with no luck. The final finishing order for podium spots was Franchitti, driving for Target Chip Ganassi, followed by Power, driving for Team Penske, followed by Helio Castroneves, also driving for Team Penske.
Worth noting were qualifying efforts by Takuma Sato, driving for KV Racing Technologies and Simona de Silvestro, driving for HVM Racing. Sato qualified third and actually out-dueled Franchitti into the first corner to take second; unfortunately, his day ended early when he crashed on cold tires. Simona deSilvestro qualified in tenth position and finished in eighth, higher than any of the drivers from big-budget team Andretti Autosport. Her performance as a series rookie is remarkable, given HVM’s limited budget and the fact that she’s driving a three year old back-up car. Her primary car was destroyed in a fire after a crash at the Texas Motor Speedway.
In other IndyCar news, Honda has announced a new 2.4 liter, turbocharged V6 for the IndyCar series beginning in 2012. The new motor, downsized to meet the 2012 competition rules, will be some 40% less expensive to lease than the current Honda V8. Honda is the first engine manufacturer to announce a motor for the IndyCar series, and I certainly hope they’ll have competition from other manufacturers.