Andretti team up for Mid-Ohio challenge
Mid-Ohio Poses Tough Challenge For Andretti Autosport, As Drivers Seek Podium Finishes In Rough Conditions
The hot temperatures and the rolling hills of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course make for the toughest conditions on the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.
And the Andretti Autosport drivers are well-prepared for the difficult task this weekend in the annual Honda Indy 200 at the challenging 2.25-mile, 13-mile permanent road circuit.
The G-loads inside the cockpit and increased summer heat on the drivers have proven to exhibit extreme levels of fatigue. The mental strength to fight through the physically-exhausting battle is always a key to a successful run at Mid-Ohio.
Recent testing at Mid-Ohio has given the Andretti Autosport drivers a positive outlook when practice starts Friday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. (Eastern). Marco Andretti, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick all completed solid testing runs in their preparation for the 200-mile feature, the 11th round of the 17-race 2011 campaign.
Developing a strong balance in their Honda/Dallara/Firestone cars is a big task for any IndyCar Series driver at Mid-Ohio. But the four Andretti Autosport racers now feel confident entering this weekend's events including Friday's practice, Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's main event.
Hunter-Reay, in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car, Conway, in the No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti entry, and Patrick, in the No. 7 Team Go Daddy car, finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively at the Edmonton race two weeks ago, and Andretti is seeking a strong performance to move him into the top-five in series points in the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink mount.
The green flag for Sunday's 85-lap Honda Indy 200 will be televised live on VERSUS starting at 2 p.m. (Eastern).
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM VENOM ENERGY DRINK CAR
"Mid-Ohio is a busy track and it takes a little bit to learn at first. I have loads of laps here at Mid-Ohio. So I think you could wake me up in my sleep and I would know where to go on the track. People think the Mid-Ohio track is in the middle of nowhere. But it is such a landmark on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule that we have always been excited about going there. And Mid-Ohio is one of the staples of IndyCar racing.
"Mid-Ohio is fun to drive. It is a busy track and it is a flowing track. It is tough to get the car right for a place like Mid-Ohio. But when the car is right, it is fast and fun. Mid-Ohio is tough to pass. Turn four at the end of the back straight is a fast corner, so there isn't a lot of braking. It is difficult to set up your opposition for a pass. It makes qualifying and your pace that much more important. We'll be working all weekend to make sure the Venom car is ready to go for the win."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM @FOLLOWANDRETTI CAR
"We had quite a productive test at Mid-Ohio last week in the @FollowAndretti car so we should be able to get some good results this weekend. The track is a lot of fun and always has a good crowd, so I'm looking forward to it!"
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/CIRCLE K/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
"I've been coming here [Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course] since I was 16, racing in Skip Barber. I've had a lot of great memories here. Actually, when I was a kid I came here with my dad as an IndyCar fan just looking up to my heroes driving the cars and now I'm the one doing the driving, so it's a dream come true really. Love this place, it's a huge part of American road racing.
"It's really physical here, and technical. You do one lap here and get it right and you still come back to the garage thinking you could everything better. You just can never get it right here at Mid-Ohio, which is one of the great things about the race. There are so many compromises and challenges to getting a lap right around here. The drivers respect it a lot, that's why we love coming here."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR I have been good at Mid-Ohio and I have been bad too over the years. It is very much a rhythm track. You really need a car under you that has a nice balance. You need a car that you can hustle around Mid-Ohio. The track will get more grip as the weekend goes along. If you get a proper car setup under you and you can really push the car, you can be fast at Mid-Ohio. That is very important.
"You want to start towards the front of the grid because there are just not a lot of places to pass. That is the theme at permanent road circuits. You have to qualify well to race well. In Edmonton, the GoDaddy.com car drove well on restarts and passed a number of cars on track. We'll try to do the same thing in Mid-Ohio." Andretti Autosport