A different pit strategy and the second set of green flag pit stops has Helio Castroneves leading at the halfway point of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Castroneves, who started fourth, leads on Lap 45 of 90.
Castroneves is followed by Tony Kanaan, points leader Juan Pablo Montoya, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson, Ryan Briscoe, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier.
The first caution waved on Lap 3. Will Power was forced off into the grass by Josef Newgarden and as the defending series champion returned to the racing surface, it appeared he barely made contact with the left rear of Charlie Kimball.
A short distance later, Kimball’s No. 83 spun off track and became stuck in the gravel. The Ganassi driver currently races in 23rd, two laps down.
The second caution came on Lap 21 for debris from Takuma Sato’s car after the AJ Foyt Racing driver was spun by Stefano Coletti.
Before that caution, Dixon had a 7.2 second lead over Bourdais in second, but due to the pit cycle, restarted 13th. Tristan Vautier restarted first, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Graham Rahal.
Vautier pitted and gave the lead to Justin Wilson on Lap 33, who then pitted on Lap 39 to allow Montoya to lead for three laps before pitting on Lap 42, giving the lead to Castroneves.
Sports imitates art with Tyler Bereman’s Red Bull Imagination course
As the event elevates its stature, the course gets tougher. The jumps get higher and the competition stouter. This year’s course took inspiration from a skatepark, honoring other adrenaline-laced pastimes and competitions.
“There’s a ton of inspiration from other action sports,” Bereman told Red Bull writer Eric Shirk as he geared up for the event.
Bereman was the leading force in the creation of this event and the winner of its inaugural running. In 2022, Bereman had to settle for second with Axell Hodges claiming victory on the largest freeride course created uniquely for the Red Bull Imagination.
Unlike other courses, Bereman gave designer Jason Baker the liberty to create obstacles and jumps as he went. And this was one of the components that helped the course imitate art.
Baker’s background in track design comes from Supercross. In that sport, he had to follow strict guidelines and build the course to a specific length and distance. From the building of the course through the final event, Bereman’s philosophy was to give every person involved, from creators to riders, fans and beyond, the chance to express themselves.
He wanted the sport to bridge the valley between racing and art.
Hodges scored a 98 on the course and edged Bereman by two points. Both riders used the vast variety of jumps to spend a maximum amount of time airborne. Hodges’s first run included nearly every available obstacle including a 180-foot jump before backflipping over the main road.
The riders were able to secure high point totals on their first runs. Then, the wind picked up ahead of Round 2. Christian Dresser and Guillem Navas were able to improve their scores on the second run by creating new lines on the course and displaying tricks that did not need the amount of hangtime as earlier runs. They were the only riders to improve from run one to run two.
With first and second secured with their early runs, Hodge and Bereman teamed up to use their time jointly to race parallel lines and create tandem hits. The two competitors met at the center of the course atop the Fasthouse feature and revved their engines in an embrace.
Julien Vanstippen rounded out the podium with a final score of 92; his run included a landing of a 130-foot super flip.