IndyCar Update: Can Scott Dixon make strategy work at Mid-Ohio?

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A strategy play has put last-place starter Scott Dixon into the lead at the halfway point of the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Dixon last pitted on Lap 31, and stayed out under a Lap 37 caution to take the lead from Sebastien Bourdais. Josef Newgarden, Carlos Munoz, and Graham Rahal were third, fourth, and fifth respectively as the race hit Lap 45 of 90.

The start of today’s race was eventful for IndyCar championship leader Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti – but not in the way they were hoping for.

As the rest of the field made their way out for pace laps, Castroneves had to deal with a throttle issue on his car that wouldn’t be resolved until after the race began.

But shortly after the green flag came out between Turns 3 and 4, Tony Kanaan spun out in 4 and was then hit by Marco Andretti; both drivers were OK but unable to continue on.

Castroneves was able to return to the track just before the race restarted at Lap 5. Green flag stops began for the field around Lap 10, but the leaders were able to go past Lap 20 on their opening stints. Second-place Newgarden went in for black primary tires at Lap 21 and race leader Bourdais went in for a new set of red alternates five laps later.

Bourdais’ stop handed the lead to Ryan Hunter-Reay, who then pitted for blacks at Lap 27. But moments after he came out ahead of Bourdais, Race Control hit him with a pit road speeding violation that forced him to the pits for a drive-through.

Hunter-Reay shuffled back to ninth after serving the penalty, while Bourdais re-assumed control of the race ahead of Newgarden, Munoz, Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe.

On Lap 37, Hunter-Reay suffered more trouble when he looped around his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda coming off Turn 11 before coming to rest in Turn 12. The spin brought out a full-course yellow and knocked Hunter-Reay one lap down.

During the yellow, Takuma Sato suddenly pulled off course at Turn 6. While Sato was being taken care of, the leaders decided to pit at Lap 40 and Bourdais was able to win the race out.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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