Photo from foxsports.com
In IRR’s wet t-shirt clear view, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is among the worst of all the venues past and present on the IndyCar Series schedule. Our intrepid reporters have even attended a race at Gateway Speedway, just outside of lovely East St. Louis with stunning views of landfills in every direction, and preferred it to Mid-Ohio. It’s just not an appropriate track for the artistry on wheels that is IndyCar.
A rural road course/drive through the woods, it has neither the pretty flowers of Barber nor the high desert baked-out brownness of Sonoma. It’s middling. More importantly, Mid-Ohio provides less passing and on track action than it does destination dining.
As a racecourse, it’s simply there in the middle of nowhere begging to be used for something other than the odd motorbike race. Not surprisingly, Mid-Ohio is available for cheap to host the ICS’s annual single file parade and camping jamboree. Seriously, you and a few friends can rent the whole joint out for a weekend, it’s that classy. The racing product is consistently un-compelling. No wonder television ratings will be down this week – again.
Built in the early sixties, the track is old and out of date enough to be too narrow for modern IndyCars, but new enough to the ICS to completely lack any history or gravitas, like Milwaukee and Long Beach enjoy. “Ohio’s premiere motorsports destination” is their slogan, which speaks volumes doesn’t it? It’s kinda like a (nicer) part of Oakland plunked down in Buckeyeland, with “no there there.”
Last year’s race was memorable, barely, only because it was Charlie Kimball’s first series victory. He’s a likeable enough chap, an American, and someone who has an inspiring story to tell as a racer with Diabetes. Good for him.
Otherwise, the race was typical Mid-Ohio. It was unremarkable and even downright boring, featuring heavy doses of “strategy.” That means teams focus on fuel and tire saving while hoping to get lucky on pit stop timing. Or, the polar opposite of racing.
As lifelong fans of the sport it pains us to write, but it’s true. Down with Mid-Ohio. This series can – and should – do better.