Every so often, a driver just runs away with a race. From the moment the green flag drops, those “in the zone” will either run off into the distance or simply control the race from the front – today polesitter Martin Plowman was that driver. The Briton led the Firestone Indy Lights Race of Mid-Ohio from start to finish and while he was stalked by James Hinchcliffe for much of the race, the truth is Hinchcliffe never really looked like getting by.
He wasn’t alone in getting good laps in as Gustav Yacaman showed; however sadly for Yacaman, his gearbox failed on the warm-up lap and it would be six laps before he finally hit the track. As the race started, Dan Clarke kept his third spot of the grid, but behind him 2009 Indy Lights title challenger Sebastian Saavedra stumbled as Stefan Wilson and Charlie Kimball both got by. By the third lap, Kimball had also passed Wilson in turn two to claim 4th place.
Nearer the rear of the field, David Martinez was clearly struggling and it would only be a matter of time before Juan Pablo Garcia passed Martinez for 11th spot, leaving Garcia to chase down Philip Major. Further back, a spin by Rodrigo Barbosa did little to damage either his car or race – Barbosa spent nearly the entire event mired down in 13th spot, a long way up on Indy Lights débutante Giancarlo Vilarinho.
As the race approached its three-quarter mark, Saavedra – seeing the possibility of extra points – locked onto the rear of Wilson; however the young Columbian ran wide off of the second corner, kicking up plumes of dirt and loosing bundles of time.
Things up front began to come to a head on the 36th lap when Championship challenger Hinchcliffe overcooked his car on the approach to turn four, running well into the dirt and nearly taking out his team mate Adrian Campos Jr, as he rejoined the track. Hinchcliffe slipped to seventh position, just ahead of Series leader JK Vernay, instantly nullifying any possible advantage he may have gained.
The chequered flag flew some four laps later with Plowman becoming the 5th race winner of the season, picking up two extra points for leading the most laps. Interestingly enough, it was his first race victory since he competed in go-karts.
Behind Plowman, Clarke, Kimball, Wilson, Saavedra and Campos Jr fill out the top 6, while Hinchcliffe, Vernay, James Winslow, Major, Garcia, Barbosa, Martinez, Vilarinho and Yacaman crossed the line in 7th-15th positions respectively – Martinez spun into the gravel on the final tour, loosing his 12th spot to Barbosa.
Realistically, this was a 40-lap procession through the Lexington hills. A tense race could have developed, but Hinchcliffe’s inability to move forward and seriously challenge Plowman negated any excitement.
Race Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Indy Lights Race of Mid-Ohio (Round 9)
1. Martin Plowman 40 laps
2. Dan Clarke 0.8443
3. Charlie Kimball 4.1734
4. Stefan Wilson 7.6215
5. Sebastian Saavedra 7.8045
6. Adrian Campos Jr 8.3180
7. James Hinchcliffe 11.6760
8. JK Vernay 16.4775
9. James Winslow 48.1677
10. Philip Major 50.3686
11. Juan Pablo Garcia 54.5980
12. Rodrigo Barbosa 1 lap
13. Giancarlo Vilarinho 1 lap
14. David Martinez 2 laps
15. Gustavo Yacaman 6 laps
2010 Indy Lights Championship Standings
1. Vernay 359 points
2. Hinchcliffe 306
3. Plowman 306
4. Kimball 287
5. Saavedra 269
6. Wilson 234
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