Five things to watch for during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

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One might suspect there would have been changes to the top of the leaderboard after the NTT IndyCar Series returned to an oval for the third time this year, but three of the top-five finishers were among the top five the week before – including the winner Josef Newgarden.

This week the series returns to a road course and it’s a chance for a couple of drivers to reset and make a charge at the top five and keep their championship hopes alive.

Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday

  1. Alexander Rossi stumbled at the wrong time; can he rebound? Prior to last week Rossi and Newgarden had not been more than one position apart in the last three races of this season. That kept the pressure on. In Iowa, Rossi’s sixth place finish was five spots worse than Newgarden and now he trails in the championship by 29 points. Equally important, Rossi snapped a five-race streak of top-five finishes.
  2. With his win and Rossi’s struggle Newgarden now has the longest streak of top-fives in the field at four. Two of these were victories on the ovals of Iowa and Texas. Newgarden should easily score another top-five and with a little luck might even find Victory Lane. He won on this track in 2017 and finished fourth last year.
  3. Scott Dixon has been all but perfect at Mid-Ohio in regard to top-10 finishes. In 12 starts he has five wins and nine top-fives. The only time he failed to finish in the top 10 was 2016. Notably, he finished last that year with suspension problems.
  4. Simon Pagenaud’s win at Toronto two weeks ago on the most recent street course provided some momentum that ended in a fourth in Iowa. Those two runs come on the backs of a pair of top-10s at Texas and Elkhart Lake. Look for Pagenaud’s streak of top-10s to continue because he has the longest current streak of such finishes at Mid-Ohio. After finishing outside the top 10 once in his inaugural run, Pagenaud has top-10s in his last seven attempts.
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay enters the weekend with back to back results outside the top 15 and no top-10s in his last three starts. Hunter-Reay should be able to snap his streak of disappointing runs this week because he’s finished worse than 10th only twice in 12 starts.

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