2017 marked the twenty-second season for the IndyCar championship. Since March 2014, the telecommunications company, Verizon has been the primary sponsor.

Two of the biggest team announcements in the off season was that after 27-years Target would be discontinuing their sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing and that A.J. Foyt Enterprises would switch from Honda to Chevrolet power plants.

As for significant driver changes: Josef Newgarden joined Team Penske, Takuma Sato left A.J. Foyt Enterprises for Andretti Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing welcomed back Sebastien Bourdais. Also of note - Fernando Alonso would skip the Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport.

The series continued to use the fourth generation Dallara IR-12 which was introduced in 2012 to replace the Dallara IR5. 2017 is the last year for the Chevrolet and Honda aero kits which was introduced in 2015. A new spec aero kit will be adopted for 2018. Chevrolet (Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (Honda HI17R Indy-V6) were still providing 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines for the series. These motors would rev to a maximum of 12,000 rpm producing 550-700-horspower depending on the amount of turbo boost. These manufacturers were also providing aero kits.

As in recent years, the season opened in March at Saint Petersburg and ended mid-September at Sonoma, California. There was a total sixteen race weekends and only one doubleheader event (Detroit). As usual, there was a mix of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits. The only change to the schedule was the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park in August.

It was proving to be a very competitive IndyCar season - after twelve rounds seven different drivers had at least one victory.

Mid-Ohio would be race thirteen of the seventeen contested in 2017. A total of twenty-one drivers would compete in the Honda Indy 200 for 90-laps around the 2.258-mile thirteen-turn road course.

From ‘zero’ to ‘hero’. Will Power was the first retirement in the previous round at Toronto when his suspension was damaged after contact with the series point’s leader, Scott Dixon. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Power got back on track. He topped the time sheet in the Firestone Fast Six and captured the Verizon P1 award. This was his forty-ninth pole and tied him with Bobby Unser for fourth on the all-time list.
Lap one through ‘The Carousel’ and the pole-sitter, Will Power driving the Verizon sponsored Team Penske Dallara IR-12 leads the field of twenty-one starters. Following Power, is his teammate, Josef Newgarden who won the previous round at Toronto. Behind the Penske entries in third place is Takuma Sato who won this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Josef Newgarden took back-to-back wins – finishing first at Toronto and Mid-Ohio. Newgarden was driving the Team Penske Chevrolet-powered Dallara qualified on the front row with the pole-sitter, Will Power. He trailed Power before moving into the lead on lap-13. Newgarden dominated the contest from that point on – leading seventy-three of the ninety-lap race. He was now in the points lead with only four events remaining.
Finishing second, 5.1556-seconds behind the winner, Josef Newgarden was his Penske teammate, Will Power. The pole-sitter, Power led a total of fourteen laps but could not match the pace of Newgarden. To date, Power had two victories – Indianapolis Grand Prix and Texas – and this was his second runner-up finish with the first coming at Phoenix. He left Mid-Ohio fifth in the Driver’s Championship.
Hitachi Team Penske driver, Helio Castroneves made it to the Firestone Fast Six and was fifth quickest. The veteran dropped down the race order and was in seventh place at the checkered flag. To date, the highlight of his season had been a victory in round eleven at Iowa. After Mid-Ohio, he was still second in the standings – just seven points behind the leader, Josef Newgarden.
Four-time IndyCar Champion, Scott Dixon was the point’s leader at Toronto. A win at Road America and consistently scoring points accounted for his success in the title chase. But the competition ‘stepped up their game’ and he found his lead shrinking. At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Dixon made the Firestone Fast Six and qualified sixth but finished ninth. His results at Toronto and Mid-Ohio dropped him to third in the standings.
Defending Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, Simon Pagenaud was the only Team Penske driver not to make it to the Firestone Fast Six. Pagenaud was gridded seventh for the Honda Indy 200. During the contest, he passed Indy 500 winner, Takuma Sato, his teammate, Helio Castroneves and the point’s leader, Scott Dixon to finish fourth. Pagenaud was now fourth in the title chase and trailed Dixon by only nine points.
Three different drivers led the Honda Indy 200 and one of them was the local favourite, Graham Rahal. Rahal qualified fourth quickest and was in first place twice for a total of three laps. At the checkered flag, he captured the last position on the podium. After Belle Isle, where he had two victories, this was Rahal’s best result of the season.
Andretti Autosport driver and Indy 500 winner, Takuma Sato was the third fastest qualifier driving a Honda-powered Dallara IR-12. During the race, Sato was passed by Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud – leaving him fifth at the conclusion of the event. This result left him seventh in the Driver’s points chase.

12Josef NewgardenDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske90-
21Will PowerDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske90-
34Graham RahalDallara IR-12 / HondaRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing90-
47Simon PagenaudDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske90-
53Takuma SatoDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport90-
69Alexander RossiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport/Curb Agajanian90-
75Helio CastronevesDallara IR-12 / ChevroletTeam Penske90-
810Ryan Hunter-ReayDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport90-
96Scott DixonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing90-
1011Conor DalyDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises90-
118James HinchcliffeDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports90-
1214Marco AndrettiDallara IR-12 / HondaAndretti Autosport90-
1313Charlie KimballDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing90-
1421Mikhail AleshinDallara IR-12 / HondaSchmidt Peterson Motorsports90-
1518Max ChiltonDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing90-
1617Tony KanaanDallara IR-12 / HondaChip Ganassi Racing90-
1719J.R. HildebrandDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing90-
1820Carlos MunozDallara IR-12 / ChevroletA.J. Foyt Enterprises89-
1916Spencer PigotDallara IR-12 / ChevroletEd Carpenter Racing89-
2012Esteban GutierrezDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing89-
2115Ed JonesDallara IR-12 / HondaDale Coyne Racing88-

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