Mid-Ohio’s Craig Rust Talks New Year, New Series

Mid-Ohio's Craig Rust talks about the addition of a new series in 2019.

Mid-Ohio’s Craig Rust talks about the addition of a new series in 2019.

It’s a new racing season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, led by track president Craig Rust, as they kick off a busy season with IMSA. The Weathertech Sports Car Championship will headline the weekend. Craig Rust, Mid-Ohio president sat down with us to discuss this weekend and the year ahead.

It hasn’t been the chamber of commerce weather that race hands had expected, but with the sports cars, they’re racing.

“It’s certainly not the weather we wanted, but the fun thing is, we’ll race today,” Rust said.  The changes in temperatures and the wet conditions which have plagued central Ohio for the last week have made for some treacherous conditions for drivers.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, the Mid-Ohio fans have been through this before,” Rust said. “They are well seasoned for sure.”

Rust adds that the weather conditions will through off teams a little as today’s race conditions are a little different than what they’ve practiced in.

“It’s going to change up the strategy for sure,” he added.

Sponsorship

The race fans at Mid-Ohio have known sports car racing for over 50 years as it’s in the name. When IMSA wasn’t put on the schedule a couple of years ago, Rust said that the race fans in Central Ohio were beside themselves and let the track know it.

Well, IMSA heard, and they returned last season. The sports car fan voice reaches across all of the United States. Rust said he doesn’t know if the fans came from all 50 states. But IMSA Weathertech Sports Car racing is a big draw, especially here at mid-Ohio.

As any race fan knows, sponsorship is a huge deal.  For Craig Rust and his staff at Mid-Ohio, it’s a big deal to have a name like Acura as the title sponsor. The Acura NSX is built right up the road in Marysville, Ohio as part of the Honda facility.

Rust said the interest from both the company and it’s employees in the racing at Mid-Ohio in huge. It’s not just the financial support. Acura also helps promote the racing at Mid-Ohio across all of their facilities.

New Series

Mid-Ohio has always had a diverse range of racing, and in 2019 they will add another. The American Rally Cross series sponsored by Cooper Tires will hit the track for two race weekends beginning June 8th and 9th. Rust says this deal to bring ARX to Mid-Ohio happened very quickly.

“We’ll have to make some changes as well,” Rust said.

The American Rally Cross will use the section known as the Keyhole, which is turn two.

“They will go off road, so that is new for us,” he pointed out.

Rust also adds that there will be a jump added to the exit of turn 2. That section should be really fun for fans as that is a down hill section to their turn back across what is the small oval section of the track. Rust says tickets are available for that event, plus you can purchase full season passes to see all of the events.

Schedule

June 8th-9th American Rally Cross Round 1
June 21st-23 Vintage Grand Prix
July 5th – 7th AMA Vintage Motorcycle days
July 26-28 Honda Indy 200
August 9th – 10th NASCAR Xfinity Series
September 18th – 22 National Auto Sports Association
October 5th – 6th ARX round 2

Full Season

Rust said the AMA Vintage Motorcycles Days in July is really a big party. “It really surprises people how big this event is.” Rust adds that it’s the largest vintage swap meet, they take over all of the camping areas at Mid-Ohio. If you are a motorcycle fan, this is not an event you want to miss. You can see vintage Motorcycle racing, ride and shares, talk to people that just love motorcycles.

Then the bigger of the on track events, Mid-Ohio can hold over 70,000 people in and around the race track and the IndyCar series packs them in for their event at the end of July. Rust says this one brings them from all over. There is huge support for the Indy Car drivers, there are a lot of meet and greet opportunities for fans. He adds that the sponsors really bring a lot of people out to enjoy throughout their VIP areas.

Weather and Tickets

The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns for their second straight road course race and third out of four in the month of August. Rust said that this will be an exciting weekend for Mid-Ohio as the fans enjoy the close quarters and typically contact filled event. This will be the third year for NASCAR at Mid-Ohio and a race that is growing a fan base.

“It’s nice this year because we’ve brought on a new sponsor for the NASCAR weekend.” Rust said. B and L trucking is brand new to the sport and an exciting addition for the race track.

With the rain, many fans had concerns with parking, what happens if they get stuck in the wet conditions, Rust said they have just brought on a new towing company to work with the race track and they have trucks throughout the infield as well as the campgrounds and parking lots to assist with vehicles that may be stuck, there are also security and track personnel that have had trucks out helping fans. We dont’ want anyone to be concerned with coming out due to the weather. The weather forecast for today is mostly cloudy, but dry.

Tickets are available at Mid-ohio.com for this race today and all of the following events through 2019.

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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