With a year and a half under his belt in a full-time Andretti Autosports ride, IndyCar's Devlin DeFrancesco believes the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio may be his weekend to capitalize on forward momentum.
"We seemed to unlock quite a bit of pace in Road America, running quite far into the top ten for most of the race," DeFrancesco said. "Even if you look at most of our season, our pace really to have really gotten better. But, we just seem to have not been able to put that together yet and it's come down to small issues."
"I think this is the weekend to make it right and really make some headway," DeFrancesco added.
The 23-year-old Canadian driver will be looking for his first career victory - a feat that's success will be heavily affected by Saturday's qualifying. In the 2022 running at Mid-Ohio, DeFrancesco qualified 20th and crossed the finish line 17th.
Though the Andretti Autosport team is young in terms of both age and experience, DeFrancesco says that there's plenty of collaboration with team veteran Marco Andretti and allies at Meyer Shank Racing.
"There really is with the four team cars as well as the two Meyer Shank cars that we have a tactical alliance with, with Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud - there's six of us.." DeFrancesco said. "There is a lot to look at and things you can take from everybody and apply it to yourself."
Should DeFrancesco break through Sunday with his first career IndyCar victory, he will have done so, likely, through adverse weather. The Mid-Ohio Speedway in Lexington, Ohio, expects weekend storms as of Friday afternoon.
Rain, storms, and a wet raceway will present new lines and heightened caution, DeFrancesco explains.
"Water and rubber really doesn't mix well together - it's like when you pour the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar together - it just doesn't mix well," DeFrancesco said. "Making sure you cross that, you stay off the rubber that's been laid down by your car and the previous cars in the dry, is critical to give yourself the maximum grip in the wet."
Although the 13-turn, 2.258-mile track at Mid-Ohio presents unique difficulties under wet conditions, DeFrancesco says, he's ready for the challenge - even welcoming it.
"I have driven at Mid-Ohio in the rain and the wet is the most slippery track, I think, to exist in the rain," said DeFrancesco. "There really isn't another track like it. So, I'm looking forward to it, man, I'm super exited"
The IndyCar Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio qualifications are scheduled for Saturday at 2:45pm ET. The green flag is set to wave on Sunday with coverage airing from 1:00-4:00pm ET on WITZ 104.7 FM.
The full conversation can be heard below: