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Saturday, August 7, 2010

IndyCar Race Preview: Honda Indy 200

Team Penske will once again be the team to beat this weekend at Mid-Ohio, as Will Power tied a series record by scoring his seventh pole of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season for tomorrow's Honda Indy 200.

Penske cars have been towards the top of the charts in every practice session, with Dario Franchitti also consistently posting solid runs. Franchitti qualified alongside Power on the front row, followed by strong runs for Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Row 3 consists of Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves, involved in controversy over the finish at Edmonton two weeks ago, when a hotly contested blocking penalty on Castroneves handed the win to Dixon. Castroneves was previously the lone record holder for most poles in an IndyCar season until this weekend.

The 27-car field is one of the healthiest in IndyCar all season, and by far trumps the meager 21-car field that the series mustered last year. Besides the increase in full-time cars from last year to this year, part-time entries for Graham Rahal, Adam Carroll, and Jay Howard have inflated the field. Carroll qualified 17th, Rahal 25th, and Howard 26th.

This race will mark the IndyCar debuts for two drivers: J.R. Hildebrand, filling in for Mike Conway at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and Francesco Dracone, replacing Mario Romancini at Conquest Racing. They qualified 18th and 23rd, respectively. Hildebrand was the 2009 Indy Lights champion, while Dracone spent the majority of his professional racing career in Europe, primarily competing in the Formula 3000 Euroseries.

The race will be shown live on Versus at 2:30 PM EST on Sunday.

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