Race Weekend Central

Backmarker Blues: IndyCar Drivers Who Struggled At The Honda Indy 200

The 2020 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio doubleheader (Sept. 12-13) saw both one clean race and one pockmarked with spins and crashes. While it wasn’t a chronically bad weekend for anyone in the NTT IndyCar Series, there were some drivers who could have taken home a few more championship points.

In this edition of Backmarker Blues, we take a look at the IndyCar drivers who needed more from their Mid-Ohio weekend—and how they can rebound for the next doubleheader at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Scott Dixon

It’s rare to say that Scott Dixon had a genuinely bad race weekend, but at the Honda Indy 200 he was off his dominant form. The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing driver qualified 17th for the first race on Saturday, which meant that he just wasn’t a factor for the win. Then after qualifying in third on Sunday, he dropped a few places before spinning entirely on his own. Dixon was forced to rejoin the grid in last place and fight his way back up to a top 10.

No, the doubleheader wasn’t a disaster—but it certainly wasn’t the kind of weekend Dixon would have wanted as we head into the final three races of the season. Any championship leader would want to tie up the win sooner rather than later. 

That said, it’s advantage Dixon as the series heads back to the IMS road course. He’s historically successful at the track and already has a win there this season. He’ll just need to find some of that cool composure that earned him his nickname.

Santino Ferrucci

2020 has not been Santino Ferrucci’s year. He’s already made the Backmarker Blues list several times, often because of a pit stop problem that put him out of contention for what would have otherwise been a great finish. And that was definitely a factor at the Honda Indy 200. During Saturday’s race, a slow pit stop took Santino from a top five to 13th, where he remained for most of the race.

Sunday promised great things, with Ferrucci qualifying second on the grid. Unfortunately, he and polesitter Colton Herta had a tough battle on the first lap that resulted in Ferrucci running wide and turning back onto the track, taking out several other drivers in the process. While Ferrucci was able to keep going, he remained mired solidly in the middle of the pack.

Ferrucci has promise as a driver, but it has yet to come to fruition, either through his own mistakes or those of his team. To end the last three races of the season on a high, the No. 18 crew is going to need to keep a cool head on their shoulders and start taking home some solid finishes.

Alex Palou

Alex Palou‘s 2020 IndyCar season has been a difficult one, and nothing has quite epitomized that more than being knocked out of contention by his own teammate at the second event of the Honda Indy 200. 

As a rookie driver who didn’t take part in the Road to Indy program and is thus visiting many of these IndyCar tracks for the first time, Palou mainly just needs experience. He’ll benefit from the fact that he’s visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course before. Even though his finish at that track back in July left a lot to be desired, Palou needs the comfort of repetition to get used to his No. 55 machine, and the last stretch of the season can provide that.

The next race on the 2020 IndyCar schedule is the 2020 IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix Race 1 on Oct. 02 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will air at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA.

About the author

Elizabeth Blackstock is lead IndyCar writer for Frontstretch, a freelance journalist, and a novelist. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing a dual MFA/MA degree at Arcadia University. She is in love with her car, a 2013 Mazda 2.

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