2009 marked the fourteenth season of the IndyCar Series and the second year of the reunification between the Indy Racing League and Champ Car World Series. Seventeen rounds would be contested to determine titles for teams and drivers.

The season opened in early April at Saint Petersburg, Florida and ended at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida in October. In between these two weekends, there were races held at Long Beach, Kansas Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, The Milwaukee Mile, Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Richmond International Speedway, Watkins Glen International, Toronto, Edmonton, Kentucky Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Infineon Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and Twin Ring Motegi.

There were some newsworthy stories for the 2009 season:

  • Schedule changes included the addition of Long Beach and Toronto – with the Nashville Superspeedway and Detroit’s Belle Isle being removed from the 2009 calendar.
  • After a year competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Dario Franchitti returned to IndyCar driving for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Helio Castroneves was charged with tax evasion and his place on the team was taken by Will Power. When Castroneves returned to the series, a third Penske entry was added for Power.
  • Honda was supposed to end the relationship with the IndyCar series as the only engine supplier at the end of the 2009 season - but the deal was extended until 2011.
  • As the result of the popularity and demand from teams for the Dallara IR-05 chassis, Panoz stopped producing a car for the series.
  • Series management signed a ten-year television contract with the Versus TV Network.

Teams continued to use the Dallara IR5 chassis and the Honda engine. The Honda HR7R-HR11R used by entrants is 3.5-liter aluminum alloy V8-engine. The fuel-injected normally-aspirated motor produces 650-horsepower at 10,300-rpm.

Round twelve of the 2009 IndyCar championship was held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Competitors would race around 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course for eighty-five laps in an event titled the Honda Indy 200.

Chip Ganassi driver, Scott Dixon had a great weekend at the Mid-Ohio. Dixon qualified the Honda-powered Dallara third. He chased the race leader, Justin Wilson until lap-37 when he used the slower car of Milka Duno to make a pass for the lead. Dixon would dominate the remainder of the event – scoring his fourth victory of the season, taking the point’s lead and topping the list for most IndyCar wins at twenty.
Team Penske driver, Ryan Briscoe won the previous round at Kentucky Speedway and led the point’s chase entering Mid-Ohio. Briscoe was the fastest qualifier earning his third pole of the season. At the green, he jumped into the lead but lost first place to Justin Wilson of lap-5. Briscoe battled back but at the finish, he was 29.780 seconds behind the race winner, Scott Dixon. His runner-up result dropped him to second in the standings.
Entering the Mid-Ohio round, Dario Franchitti was third in the point standings – behind Ryan Briscoe and his teammate, Scott Dixon. Franchitti’s season included victories at Long Beach, Iowa and Toronto. The Target Chip Ganassi driver was gridded sixth for the start of the Honda 200. During the race, Franchitti could not maintain the pace of Dixon and Briscoe but captured the final position on the podium.
Driving for Vision Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay opened the season at Saint Petersburg with a runner-up finish. After a number of poor results, Hunter-Reay left Vision Racing and made an inauspicious debut with A.J. Foyt Racing at Iowa Speedway – he crashed on lap-2. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it appeared that the team might have turned a corner. Hunter-Reay started seventh and finished fourth – the team’s best result to date.
Japanese driver, Hideki Mutoh qualified the Andretti Green Racing prepared Dallara eleventh quickest. During the first half of the race, Mutoh maintained his position. As the contest unfolded, he began moving up the race order – benefitting from errors made by Justin Wilson, Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan. Mutoh finished fifth - the best result of the four Andretti Green entries.
The Andretti family had three victories at Mid-Ohio during the CART / Champ Car period – Mario (1984) and Michael (1990 & 1991). Marco Andretti was gridded thirteenth for the start. The team’s race strategy put Andretti on a different pit-stop sequence. As a result, he was second place during the closing laps. However, a final stop was required for fuel which caused him to finish in the sixth position.
The local favourite was Graham Rahal driving for Newman / Haas / Lanigan Racing. Rahal’s father Bobby had won the event twice (1985 and 1986). He started on the pole twice in 2009 (Saint Petersburg and Kansas Speedway) but at Mid-Ohio, Rahal would be the fourth quickest. Early in the contest, Rahal would keep pace with the race leaders but he went off-course at the ‘Keyhole’ and fell out of contention - finishing eighth.
For a weekend that started out so promising, it turned into heartbreak for Justin Wilson. The Watkins Glen winner, qualified second quickest. Wilson passed Ryan Briscoe on lap-6 and would lead the next twenty-three circuits. During his last pit-stop on lap-63, he stalled the car and it took the team approximately thirty-seconds to restart it. The incident dropped Wilson out of contention – he finished thirteenth.

FIN.STARTDRIVERCARENTRANTLAPSRETIREMENTS
13Scott DixonDallara IR5 / HondaTarget Chip Ganassi Racing85-
21Ryan BriscoeDallara IR5 / HondaTeam Penske85-
36Dario FranchittiDallara IR5 / HondaTarget Chip Ganassi Racing85-
47Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR5 / HondaA.J. Foyt Enterprises85-
511Hideki MutohDallara IR5 / HondaAndretti Green Racing85-
613Marco AndrettiDallara IR5 / HondaAndretti Green Racing85-
710Paul TracyDallara IR5 / HondaKV Racing Technology85-
84Graham RahalDallara IR5 / HondaNewman Haas Lanigan Racing85-
915Raphael MatosDallara IR5 / HondaLuczo Dragon Racing85-
108Tony KanaanDallara IR5 / HondaAndretti Green Racing85-
1123Oriol ServiaDallara IR5 / HondaNewman Haas Lanigan Racing85-
126Hélio CastronevesDallara IR5 / HondaTeam Penske85-
1311Justin WilsonDallara IR5 / HondaDale Coyne Racing85-
1426Robert DoornbosDallara IR5 / HondaHVM Racing85-
158E.J. VisoDallara IR5 / HondaHVM Racing84-
1613Dan WeldonDallara IR5 / HondaPanther Racing84-
1715Ed CarpenterDallara IR5 / HondaVision Racing84-
1821Richard AntinucciDallara IR5 / HondaTeam 3G83-
1922Danica PatrickDallara IR5 / HondaAndretti Green Racing83-
2014Mike ConwayDallara IR5 / HondaDreyer & Reinbold Racing69Suspension
2127Milka DunoDallara IR5 / HondaDreyer & Reinbold Racing56Handling


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