(MAIN) The 2002 CART field streams through Mid-Ohio’s Esses in 2002. Patrick Carpentier leads. (OPPOSITE, clockwise from largest image) Local hero Bobby Rahal salutes the crowd in 1998 before his final Mid-Ohio CART start, where he’d finish on the podium one last time; the 2010 IndyCar Series gets busy in the pits; Alex Zanardi heads to victory in ’97. (BOTTOM RIGHT) The American Le Mans Series (pictured) and Grand-Am keep top-level sports car racing coming to Mid-Ohio.
’85 CART: Jim Trueman (left) congratulates
his winning driver, Bobby Rahal.
“Mid-Ohio has a very loyal, strong
fanbase. On race days, with the
banks full of fans, it’s a special place”
Trueman’s investment included building the large spectator
mounds that give the track its unique raceday atmosphere, state-of-the-art scoreboard, and the pit buildings and five-story tower – with
red roofs, of course – that remain signatures of the track to this day.
Sadly, Trueman passed away from cancer in 1986, just days after
seeing his friend and driver Bobby Rahal take his Truesports March
86C-Cosworth to victory in the 1986 Indianapolis 500. But Trueman’s
family retained ownership of the facility
and ensured it remained a cornerstone of
U.S. road racing, both pro and amateur.
In March, a new chapter in the Mid-Ohio
story began when Green Savoree Racing
Promotions purchased the track (see sidebar),
ready to take it into its second half-century.
Mid-O Highs: CART win in 2002
Mid-Ohio is one of my absolute
favorite racetracks. I think tracks
with lots of elevation changes and
high-speed turns – and Mid-Ohio
certainly has plenty of both – are
great and really suited my style. And
Mid-Ohio was really grippy, so the
high-speed turns were just incredible.
I remember it was so hot one year,
the tires started lifting the asphalt,
which then stuck to the rubber.