Behind polesitter Sebastien Bourdais, the rest of the Firestone Fast Six for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) features a mix of drivers who need a win for championship purposes with a few who could play spoiler.
Starting second and matching a career-best start is Josef Newgarden, in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda. Meanwhile in fourth is Carlos Munoz, in the No. 34 Cinsay/AndrettiTV.com Honda, in his first Mid-Ohio IndyCar start. Both of the young chargers seek their first career wins.
Meanwhile Tony Kanaan looks for his first Mid-Ohio win, first win of the season, the Chip Ganassi Racing team’s first win of the season and sixth in a row at Mid-Ohio in the No. 10 Glad Chevrolet. TK rolls off P3.
Row 3 is a key row with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power each needing a win for championship purposes.
“It needs to be wins,” said RHR, driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda. “We’re not settling for fifths.”
Hunter-Reay has been the dominant driver this weekend in practice but will need to make up ground on Power and Helio Castroneves (who starts 15th).
Munoz, who looks to join RHR as race winners for Andretti Autosport this year, has been impressive this weekend as he looks to add to his score of three podiums this season.
“I really like it here,” said the young Colombian rookie. “I’ve felt fast and comfortable. It’s my first Fast Six of the season. I think strategy will count a lot.”
Newgarden and Kanaan took advantage of optimizing their setup in the wet conditions.
“The rain helped spread everyone out,” Newgarden explained. “We were bad last year. We had no handle on things. This year we have a better package, and in qualifying we handled the traffic much better.”
We’ll see whether any of these five is able to take the win on Sunday, to surpass Bourdais on pole and leave points leader Castroneves out to dry.