Mid-Ohio last weekend was interesting as ever. It was great to set that pole position and get within a couple of tenths of Gil de Ferran's lap record there, but with 200 less horsepower. Gives you some idea of the downforce and grip the DW12 has.
In the race, we led from the start, and again you saw that Mid-Ohio phenomenon where the track grips up really quickly. Even though there had been a huge storm overnight that had washed the Friday and Saturday rubber away, our lap times came down pretty dramatically in that first stint. We could all have gone faster, but when a race is just about doable on two fuel stops and there are (again) no yellow-flag periods, everyone has to save fuel.
That middle stint, we held off Scott Dixon but when it came time for our second stop, I came down to the pitlane speed limit a little more carefully than him because I didn't want to take the risk of getting a drive-through penalty – I'd been pinged for speeding at pit entry earlier in the weekend – and then because we were stopping on the same lap and had pit boxes right next to each other, his crew were standing out ready for him so I had to drive around them. So I actually entered my pitbox a little slower whereas he had a clean entry into his pitbox, and it meant my refueler had to stand back as I had to come in at a sharper angle, so he got delayed a little too. And so all these lost fractions of seconds combined got Dixon out in the lead. That's racing.
Even after Toronto, when Ryan Hunter-Reay had a lead of 35 points over me, and Dixie was another 30-something points behind, I never counted him out of the championship, and now he's right back in it. He is always a strong opponent who I respect a great deal.
Same with Hunter-Reay. That's why although we're pleased to be back in the championship lead, no one on the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car is taking anything for granted. Ryan, Scott and Helio will all be strong rivals to us over the next couple races, and all of us know that there are other drivers who could beat us as well. Sonoma has been good to the Verizon car for the past two seasons, but this year there are changes to three of the corners so we all have a bit of relearning to do.
For everyone on our team, the aim is clear: get back to Victory Lane…and then step and repeat, step and repeat. We've seen how tough it can be, but we've also shown that we are strong contenders.
Thanks for reading. Hope to see you at the track.
Follow Will on Twitter at @12WillPower and follow Team Penske at @PenskeRacing and at www.PenskeRacing.com and Verizon Wireless USA at @VerizonWireless
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