IndyCar: O’Ward Leads The Way in Opening Practice at Mid-Ohio

Pato O'Ward during Practice 1 for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. (James Black/Penske Entertainment)

As we approach the 4th of July, IndyCar is halfway through its season as it makes a stop at Mid-Ohio.

Pato O’Ward, who captured the pole at Mid-Ohio last year, found himself at the top of the timing charts during Friday’s practice session at the 13-turn, 2.25-mile road course at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in preparation for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200  with a lap of 1:06.4935 seconds, which was more than two-tenths faster than last year’s pole-winning speed.

“A good start here at Mid-Ohio,” O’Ward said after the session. “We made some good changes to the car and ended up the practice in a really nice spot. Looking forward to tomorrow.”

Following Palou was Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson in the No. 8 Honda (1:06.9779 seconds), who was a half second off of O’Ward’s pace, putting him third at the end of the session. Following Ericsson was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lungaard, who prior to O’Ward was on top of the timing charts during the session, but ended P4 (1:07.0262 seconds).

“Yeah, I think coming into here we expected obviously to be fast, considering our road course performance the entire year, Lungaard said. But leaving Road America, a track that has just been resurfaced, with a track that hasn’t been resurfaced lately, we also knew it would be a different sort of balance in the car, tougher to drive.”

Christian Lundgaard during Practice 1 for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. (James Black/Penske Entertainment)

Lundgaard added, “It certainly was something to handle out there. It’s quick. So that’s the positives, I guess. We covered a lot of things in the practice session in terms of items we wanted to try. I think we’re pretty satisfied at this point.”

The forecast was also a talk of the paddock after today’s practice session where the weather and wet conditions along with the new curbing could play a factor in who wins the race on Sunday.

“It will be interesting to see if the rain decides to make an appearance or not,” said O’Ward, referencing local forecasts. “But yeah, so far so good (for us).”

Up Next:
Practice 2 – Today, 9:45 a.m. on Peacock

Featured Image Credit: James Black/Penske Entertainment