Final Thoughts from Mid-Ohio

I spent a good half hour walking the grid prior to the command and let me tell you: the grid was CROWDED! You had to walk around people, stand and wait for groups of people to come through, and overall be careful of where you were going. And whether it was the weather, promotion, whatever, the crowd was very good.

Also, I ran into Bryan Herta about ten minutes prior to the command to start engines, and asked him about the team's plans. He said no decisions had been made regarding the driver of the #98 Barracuda Racing Honda past this weekend, noting that Alex Tagliani was still under contract and they were likely going to take things race to race for the remainder of the year. However, he made it clear that he was very impressed with Luca Fillipi. And other than the accident in qualifying, Fillipi had a very impressive few days here at Mid-Ohio. In the race, he passed Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal on the opening two laps and ultimately finished 16th after starting 24th. Given the fact the race went caution free, and taking into account the physical nature of Mid-Ohio, I would say Fillipi had an impressive performance this weekend. Ditto for this weekend's driver of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, James Davison, who finished 15th.

Carpenter also had something of an encouraging, if unheralded run, to finish 19th. Of course, Carpenter is known as being quite proficient on ovals, but struggles on road and street courses.

Today, Carpenter started the race on black tires, and struggled in the early stint. However, when the Fuzzy's Vodka team went to red tires, Carpenter began posting lap times on par with some of the front-runners, and even posted the seventh fastest time of the race.

In short, while the final result won't show it, Carpenter had one of his better showings on the road and street courses.

Brian C. reporting from Mid-Ohio

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