Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:

1. Bernard, de Ferran to answer questions at Mid-Ohio

2. Plowman’s success based on lesson learned at Mid-Ohio

3. Of note

1. Bernard, de Ferran to answer questions at Mid-Ohio: Fans have opportunities to learn more about the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series car, including the open development of aero kits for the IndyCar Safety Cell, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.

IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard and de Ferran Dragon Racing managing partner Gil de Ferran, a member of the ICONIC Advisory Committee that determined the future car strategy, will answer questions from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Aug. 7 at the IndyCar Fan Zone Stage in the infield of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

They’ll also conduct a Q&A with Indy Downforce members at 10 a.m. on Aug.8 in the Honda Pavilion located just outside the Mid-Ohio’s Carrousel corner.

“Eddie Gossage hosted two fan forums on behalf of the ICONIC committee earlier this year that helped guide us in making what we feel is the right decision in going with the IndyCar Safety Cell,” Bernard said. “Now that the direction for our next generation IndyCar has been decided, I’m looking forward to hearing the thoughts of our fans and answer any questions they may have about the future of the sport.”

The IZOD IndyCar Series unveiled July 14 its new car strategy for the 2012 season and beyond, featuring a rolling chassis with an enhanced safety cell produced by longtime series partner Dallara that will be covered in changeable bodywork created by various manufacturers.

2. Plowman’s success based on lesson learned at Mid-Ohio: Martin Plowman had a moment of clarity at the Mid-Ohio race weekend last year and it’s made all the difference in the results of the young Englishman ever since.

“Last year was a huge education for me,” Plowman said. “I started out the year not having a car that was capable of winning, but my mentality was to win as all costs. I drove outside my limits and I made more mistakes.

“When we got to Mid-Ohio last year, I realized that I had to dig deeper and make the car better for me to perform and not overdrive the car. The results started coming.”

Plowman, who drove from eighth to fifth at Mid-Ohio last season for Panther Racing, has finished in the top 10 in every race since and is the only driver to complete every lap of every race through the first eight rounds of the 2010 championship.

He’ll match James Davison’s series record of consecutive races without a DNF should he complete the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 8. But Plowman, who moved to AFS Racing Andretti Autosport in the offseason, is quick to credit his team for his consistency and his third-place position in the point standings.

“From Day 1, we’ve realized that we were with a strong team and fought for every position,” Plowman said. “We’ve grown in confidence together and we have the pace to win for Day 1. We just haven’t had a win. The results are now starting to show.

“I never worry about the car. The team’s preparation is second to none. Every nut and bolt is never overlooked. The worse thing that’s happened this year was a broken windscreen that rubbed on my hand. A lot of the credit goes to the team. They look after the car so well and that leads to the consistency that we’ve had all year.”

The confidence in his the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing crew is one reason Plowman tries to repay his team with top results. He scored his first podium at Iowa after narrowly missing his first pole in June and returned to the podium with a third-place result at Edmonton on July 25. Now he’s aiming for the top step of the podium at Mid-Ohio – a track he says suits his driving style.

“We had a good test there in preseason and again during the season,” Plowman said. “It’s a track where I have a lot of special memories. It’s critical to get a good starting position. So we’ll do everything we can to get the first pole and the first win.”

But if he can’t get the win, he’ll fall back on the lessons he learned a year ago.

“At this point in the season, I have to go out and finish the best I can,” Plowman said. “If you have a fifth-place car, you have to do what you can to finish fifth. If you’re capable of winning, you must win. The records will achieve themselves if I don’t make mistakes.”

3. Of note: Pro Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann will be the grand marshal of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Swann, who won four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Since 1980, he’s been the national spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America…Pippa Mann, who will sit out the Mid-Ohio 100 while recovering from hand surgery, will join Mike King in the broadcast booth for indycar.com’s coverage of the Firestone Indy Lights this weekend at Mid-Ohio.


The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 8 with the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 8 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.