Turn four, to the main straightaway
Watching Marco and the leaders
I was also keeping a close eye on Marco Andretti (who started ninth) all day long. First, he had a good battle going on with Wilson for position, and then he was trailing Simona de Silvestro for most of the race. It looked like Marco was going to make a move on the inside of her a few times as they came down the straightaway, but he wasn't able to pull the trigger.
Will Power, Alex Tagliani and Dario Franchitti each took turns at the front, with Tag seeing an off-pit-strategy gamble pay off so he was able to lead the most laps. Franchitti essentially won the race in the pits, after he came out ahead of Power on the first stop. The pits were tight as it was, as there were 27 cars in the field.
The race really seemed to fly by. Maybe part of it was because spectators had no idea what lap the race was on. The large, electronic scoreboard in the middle of the infield was great for identifying drivers, car numbers, placement and lap times, but it lacked lap numbers. This made it a little difficult to keep tabs on the race progress.
Duno shocks everyone
Probably the biggest surprise was Milka Duno. She is an extremely slow driver and was recently put on probation for failing to keep pace with the leaders during races. Because of her knack for getting lapped and being in the way of other drivers, she usually gets pulled in to the pits just a few laps into the race. And that's after she usually doesn't even attempt to qualify.
But in Mid-Ohio, she actually finished the entire race, even if she was a few laps down. That's not to say she didn't get in the way a few times. She also was pulled into the pits when she was getting too close to the leaders. But she finished and did not hold last place. It's a head-scratcher, I know.
One of the funnier moments was when she was finally passed after a few laps by first-time racer Francesco Dracone. He passed her right in front of our grandstand, earning somewhat of a Bronx cheer.
Franchitti finally wins at Mid-Ohio
The podium winners were Franchitti, Power and Helio Castroneves - the standard representatives of the "elite 5" (drivers from Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing). Tagliani finished fourth, de Silvestro eighth and Marco ended the day where he started - in ninth. I was disappointed that Marco couldn't come up with a pass all day, and seemed to lack aggressiveness.
I had a blast at Mid-Ohio for my first visit. I really hope I have the opportunity to go back again to the beautiful track. Until Road America gets put back on the IndyCar schedule, I think Mid-Ohio will be my strong favorite of places to take in a race.