IndyCar Mid-Ohio starting lineup: Pato O’Ward on pole position as title contenders struggle

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LEXINGTON, Ohio — The IndyCar championship race faces a major shakeup at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where several top title contenders are buried in the starting lineup, and Pato O’Ward won the pole to match a series mark set in 1961.

O’Ward became the ninth different pole winner through nine races this season – the first time that’s happened in 61 years – and the Arrow McLaren SP driver now has a shot at the IndyCar points lead.

The modern-day record for different drivers winning the pole to start a season is 10 in 1952.

“This is huge man, it’s a track position race,” O’Ward said of the difficulty to pass on Mid-Ohio’s 13- turn, 2.258-mile course. “It’s a long race. A lot can happen but we have a great starting position.”

TIRE DESIGNATIONSClick here to see the starting lineup’s compound selection for the green flag

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for the full report from Mid-Ohio l Round 1, Group 1 l Round 1, Group 2 l Round 2 l Fast Six

INDYCAR AT MID-OHIOHow to watch Sunday’s race, schedules, entry list

The championship leaders will start Sunday’s race mired in deep traffic.

Marcus Ericsson, Will Power and Josef Newgarden all failed to advance out of the first group of Saturday qualifying, then reigning series champion Alex Palou was knocked out of the second round.

“IndyCar, man,” shrugged Palou.

It created a huge opportunity for O’Ward and Scott Dixon to make up serious ground in the championship race. O’Ward and Dixon were the only two drivers ranked in the top six of the championship standings to advance to the final round of Saturday qualifying; O’Ward is ranked fourth in the standings, 45 points behind Ericsson, while Dixon trails his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ericsson by 69 points.

O’Ward was followed in qualifying by Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske as Chevrolet drivers swept the front row. Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport was third for Honda and O’Ward teammate Felix Rosenqvist was fourth.

Dixon and Simon Pagenaud of Meyer Shank Racing rounded out the third row in Hondas.

AUTO: JUL 02 IndyCar - Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Pato O’Ward celebrates with his Arrow McLaren SP team after qualifying fastest with the No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet (Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

A pair of early mistakes in qualifying hampered the two championship leaders.

Indianapolis 500 winner Ericsson said dirt was being kicked back onto the track during his attempt. The current IndyCar points leader will start 13th. Power was penalized for interfering with Helio Castroneves’ laps.

Newgarden said he was stymied by traffic.

“It’s just IndyCar qualifying, sometimes it is totally fine and you have no issues,” Newgarden said. “It’s a tight track and we’re going out first and I catch the slowpokes all the time.”

Power, who trails Ericsson by 27 points in the standings, had his two fastest laps disqualified and will start 21st. He said it was a Team Penske error that likely cost him any chance of winning Sunday.

“In this series, anything can happen, but you’re not going to that many cars to fall back. You’re not going to win, put it that way,” Power said. “And weekends when you’ve got a car that can win, you cannot be doing this. This is on us, we weren’t on top of that one, and that’s the rules.”

Tatiana Calderon qualified 26th with her future in the series is in doubt because of sponsorship woes.

The Colombian driver was scheduled to drive all the road and street course races for A.J. Foyt Racing this season, but sponsor ROKiT Group is behind on its payments. Foyt still brought Calderon to Mid-Ohio because she tested the track a year ago while putting together her deal.

She’ll start 26th, but the future of the No. 11 Chevrolet beyond Sunday is not guaranteed. ROKiT is also behind on payments on the No. 14 driven by Kyle Kirkwood. The team moved associate sponsor Sexton Properties to the primary position on Kirkwood’s car at Mid-Ohio, and team president Larry Foyt is working to resolve the funding shortfall. Kirkwood will run the season regardless.

Graham Rahal qualified 18th for his 250th career IndyCar start, which fittingly will come at the track located near Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s original headquarters in Hilliard. Rahal grew up in the Columbus area.

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time, speed):


ROW 1

1. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:06.7054 (121.861 mph)
2. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:06.8382 (121.619)

ROW 2

3. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:07.0262 (121.278)
4. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:07.2163 (120.935)

ROW 3

5. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:07.4047 (120.597)
6. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:07.4199 (120.570)

ROW 4

7. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:06.7965 (121.695)
8. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:06.8201 (121.652)

ROW 5

9. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:06.9506 (121.415)
10. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 01:06.9534 (121.410)

ROW 6

11. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:06.9843 (121.354)
12. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.0155 (121.297)

ROW 7

13. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.1475 (121.059)
14. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:07.3338 (120.724)

ROW 8

15. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:07.1798 (121.001)
16. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:07.4207 (120.568)

ROW 9

17. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:07.2573 (120.861)
18. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:07.5909 (120.265)

ROW 10

19. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.4645 (120.490)
20. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:07.6475 (120.164)

ROW 11

21. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:07.5559 (120.327)
22. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:07.6745 (120.116)

ROW 12

23. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:08.2444 (119.113)
24. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:07.9362 (119.653)

ROW 13

25. (16) Simona De Silvestro, Chevrolet, 01:08.4995 (118.669)
26. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:08.4370 (118.778)

ROW 14

27. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:08.5318 (118.614)

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)