Southsider Voice correspondent
IndyCar team co-owner Sarah Fisher and team manager/husband Andy O’Gara came as close to victory as they ever had Sunday at Mid-Ohio Raceway since their only win in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway.
Third-year Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden was leading the Honda Indy 200 with 25 laps left on the 2.258-mile road course.
Newgarden, who started on the front row for the second time this season, was on a roll. He had turned the race’s fastest lap of 121.06 mph just two laps before pulling into the pits and had close to a five-second lead.
However, ran over an air hose when pitting and drew a drive-through penalty before finishing a disappointing 12th.
O’Gara took the blame for the miscue because he called Newgarden in before the crew was ready.
“It was a shame it didn’t work out, Newgarden said. “We had a heck of a car and killer strategy. The yellow even fell just right for us. You don’t always stick with your plan, but we did that and it was looking to unfold perfectly for us.”
He held the lead for three laps after passing Sebastian Bourdais. Scott Dixon snapped a 16-race skid by using fuel strategy for his first win of the season for the Target Chip Ganassi team.
“I think everyone knew we were strong today and definitely had a shot at winning the thing,” Newgarden said. “That’s all you can ask for; we’ve had a couple of those this year, and we’ll have a couple more before it’s done.”
Newgarden qualified for the No. 2 starting spot with a lap of 1 minute, 24.68 seconds in the final round of Saturday’s Firestone Fast 6 knockout-style session. He was only a half-second off Bourdais’ pole-winning lap.
Newgarden and company will test Thursday at Sonoma Raceway in California before competing in the Milwaukee Mile on Aug. 17.
O’Gara’s younger brother, Kyle, is having a solid season in midget car competition. O’Gara, who was second in USAC’s Night Before the 500 race at Lucas Oil Raceway, is second in points to leader Tracy Hines of New Castle. O’Gara is the team’s development driver.
Speedrome’s royal family
The Tunny family, beyond a doubt, is the Indianapolis Speedrome’s first family of racing.
Last month the late Bill Tunny Jr. was inducted into the Speedrome Hall of Fame, joining parents Bill and Phyllis Tunny, the 2007 inductees. Tunny’s youngest son, Austin, won the 100-lap Sonny Thompson Memorial Figure-8 race later that night.
Keeping it all in the family on Saturday, Ben Tunny, son of Bruce Tunny and Bill Jr.’s nephew, captured the Phyllis Tunny Memorial Figure-8. Four members of the family were among the top five finishers.
Racing resumes Friday with the popular $5 general admission night, which features a late model 75-lap figure-8. And then Saturday, the 18th annual Kenny’s Stock 100 unfolds with Southport’s Larry Hahn aiming at his sixth win since 2006. The 100-lap race honors the memory of the late driver/team owner Kenny Sizemore. There is also a 75-lap figure-8 for late models. Racing begins at 7 p.m. each night.
MotoGP, the world’s most prestigious motorcycle series, returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with qualifying Saturday at 2:20 p.m. and the nail-biting 27-lap championship race on the road course Sunday at 2 p.m. Three additional groups will race before Sunday’s big event. The AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series races are at 4:20 Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
General admission is $20 Friday and Saturday and $50 Sunday.
Mid-America Raceway at the Marion County Fairgrounds is the site of AMA Vintage Dirt Track Series on Saturday with action starting at 7 p.m. Eight more classes will compete on dirt, including a 450 shootout that pays $1,500 to win.