Fast Facts: Honda Indy 200

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Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy 200, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 14th round of 16 races this season:

Date: Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015
Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio
Race distance: 90 laps / 203.22 miles
Entry List: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each
Firestone tire allotment: Eight sets primary and three sets alternate for use through the weekend
Twitter: @Mid_Ohio @IndyCar, #Honda200, #IndyCar
Event website: http://www.midohio.com/ 
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com 
2014 race winner: Scott Dixon
2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Sebastien Bourdais, 1 minute, 24.1610 seconds, 96.586 mph
One-lap qualifying record: Dario Franchitti and Gil de Ferran, 1:05.347, 124.394 mph, Aug. 13, 1999 (Franchitti) and Aug. 12, 2000 (de Ferran).

Television Broadcasts: Qualifying, 3 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 1 (live, NBCSN); Race, 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 2 (live, CNBC). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and David Hobbs. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Paul Page is chief announcer with analyst Davey Hamilton. Pit reporters are Dave Furst, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, with Mark Jaynes and Jake Query serving as the turn announcers. Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app. Practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com,  indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season are available live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers, including interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where drivers are positioned, a leaderboard with enhanced 2D “marching ants” and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local): 

Friday, July 31
10:45 a.m.-Noon – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 1
3:15-4:30 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 2

Saturday, Aug. 1
10:45-11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 3
3-4:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live)

Sunday, Aug. 2
9:45-10:15 – Verizon IndyCar Series warmup
1:30 p.m. – CNBC on air
2:07 p.m. – Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (90 laps/203.22 miles), CNBC (live)

Championship facts:

• Juan Pablo Montoya leads the Indy car championship with three races to go for the second time in his career. He also led the CART point standings with three to go when he won the 1999 championship.

• Montoya leads Graham Rahal by 42 points. Montoya has led the championship since winning the opening race of the season at St. Petersburg.

• With 54 maximum points available at Mid-Ohio, the points lead could change for the first time in 2015.

• There are 13 drivers mathematically eligible for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Montoya, Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Charlie Kimball.

• One driver was eliminated from championship contention at Iowa – Takuma Sato.

• Since the first Indy car race at Mid-Ohio in 1980, nine drivers have won at Mid-Ohio in their Indy car championship-winning seasons: Johnny Rutherford (1980), Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1986), Michael Andretti (1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1997), Juan Montoya (1999), Paul Tracy (2003) and Dario Franchitti (2010).

Key championship points statistic: The driver who has led the championship with three races to go has failed to win the championship in four of the last six seasons. Only Dario Franchitti in 2011 and Will Power in 2014 have won the title when leading with three to go.

Championship-eligible drivers with strong results at Mid-Ohio: Scott Dixon is a five-time Mid-Ohio winner and has won three of the last four races at the track… Helio Castroneves won the CART races at the track in 2000-01. … Juan Pablo Montoya won the CART race in 1999…Will Power has five top-10 finishes in six starts at Mid-Ohio. … Sebastien Bourdais has three top-five finishes in five starts. … Simon Pagenaud has two podium finishes in four starts at Mid-Ohio.

Race notes:     

* There have been nine different winners in 13 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Toronto), Will Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Carlos Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2 and Milwaukee), Graham Rahal (Auto Club Speedway) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Iowa Speedway). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners. Dixon’s win at Long Beach on April 19 gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36. He is the active leader in wins with 37 after his victory at Texas on June 6.

* The Honda Indy 200 will be the ninth road/street course race of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule with a different driver winning seven of the previous eight races: Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg), Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Dixon (Streets of Long Beach), Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Toronto), Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1) and Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2)

* The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the 31st Indy car race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Dixon won the race in 2014. Johnny Rutherford won the first Indy car race at Mid-Ohio in 1980.

* Dixon is the winningest driver at Mid-Ohio with five victories (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014). Emerson Fittipaldi won at Mid-Ohio three times, while Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Teo Fabi, Bobby Rahal and Al Unser Jr. have all won at Mid-Ohio twice. Past winners Dixon, Castroneves (2000 and 2001), Montoya (1999), Ryan Briscoe (2008) and Charlie Kimball (2013) are entered this year.

* There have been five different pole winners since Castroneves won back-to-back poles in 2007-08. Other Mid-Ohio pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Briscoe (2009), Power (2010 and 2012), Dixon (2011), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2013) and Bourdais (2014).

* Ten drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1985), Roberto Guerrero (1987), Fabi (1989), Michael Andretti (1990 and 1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Patrick Carpentier (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Dixon (2011).

* At least 20 drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Mid-Ohio. Tony Kanaan (13) has the most starts at Mid-Ohio among the entered drivers. Twelve of those drivers have led laps at the track (Dixon 201, Castroneves 141, Power 87, Briscoe 49, Kimball 46, Justin Wilson 39, Bourdais 38, Hunter-Reay 33, Montoya 28, Simon Pagenaud 14, Kanaan 13 and Newgarden 3).

* Chip Ganassi Racing has won 10 times at Mid-Ohio, including the last six races at the track. Ganassi’s winning drivers are: Zanardi (1996-97), Montoya (1999), Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011-12 and 2014), Dario Franchitti (2010) and Kimball (2013). With its next Verizon IndyCar Series victory, Chip Ganassi Racing will earn its 100th Indy car race win.

* Team Penske has seven wins at the track: Fittipaldi (1992-93), Unser Jr. (1994-95), Castroneves (2000-01) and Briscoe (2008).

* Dixon has finished in the top five in eight of his 10 races at Mid-Ohio, including five wins between 2007 and 2014. Power has finished in the top five in four of his six starts at Mid-Ohio. Pagenaud has finished on the podium twice in his previous four starts. Bourdais has three top-five finishes in five starts.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 247th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon looks to make his 189th consecutive start this weekend.

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all entrants. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed a separate aero kit specification for road and street course/short ovals and another for superspeedways. References to the cars incorporate the name of the corresponding kit manufacturer.

* The No. 1 Verizon Team Penske crew of Power claimed the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Iowa Corn 300 on July 18 with a total pit-lane time of 2 minutes, 2.2099 seconds. The pit stop award win at Iowa Speedway was the first of the season for No. 1 crew and the third win in the last four races for Team Penske. The No. 1 Verizon Team Penske crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

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Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”