IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Power dominates to score first win of the year
Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power led all but his pitstop laps to finally conquer the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after taking his fifth pole position there, while Josef Newgarden held off the best efforts of a revived Andretti Autosport-Honda team to claim second and beat Alexander Rossi.
At the start – which is held on the long straight down to Turn 4 – polesitter Will Power immediately broke away and Team Penske-Chevrolet teammate Josef Newgarden was able to dive inside Ryan Hunter-Reay at Turn 4, costing the Andretti Autosport-Honda driver momentum and leaving him exposed to an attack by Conor Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy, which the ECR driver duly took.
Behind, Alexander Rossi, in the highest placed of the cars starting on black tires managed to hold onto fifth, ahead of Felix Rosenqvist, Jack Harvey, Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti and VeeKay.
Next time by into Turn 2, Simon Pagenaud got halfway through an attempted pass on Rinus VeeKay in the other ECR car and spun to the back of the field.
On Lap 4, Hunter-Reay re-passed Daly for fourth but was now 4sec behind lead Power who had also pulled out a 2.7sec gap on Newgarden.
On Lap 6, Santino Ferrucci succeeded in sending his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan-Honda up the inside of VeeKay at Turn 4 to claim 10th place. The Dutch rookie would swiftly then lose out to both Colton Herta and Scott Dixon, now running 10th having started 17th. Herta would maintain his momentum and grab ninth from teammate Andretti at Turn 2 on Lap 8 – and VeeKay would come storming back to nip past championship leader Dixon – only to lose the position again on the following lap. Dixon would then pass Andretti around the outside of Turn 4 to snatch 11th, and soon Marco would be demoted also by Patricio O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet and VeeKay, and O’Ward’s teammate Oliver Askew.
Up front, Power had briefly had his lead out to 3sec but on Lap 10 of this 75-lap event, Newgarden had pared it down to 2.1sec, before Power extended it to 3.5sec on Lap 16.
On Lap 14 Herta moved past Ferrucci to grab ninth, while just ahead, Harvey’s red-tired Meyer Shank Racing-Honda struggled to hold off local hero Graham Rahal who was running on the hard compound black Firestones. The #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan car completed the pass around the outside of Turn 4 on Lap 17, prompting Harvey to pit, as Andretti had done a lap earlier, and as Takuma Sato would do a moment later – although in his cases, in the Japanese driver’s case, he was switching from blacks to reds.
Pagenaud pulled in for fresh blacks on Lap 19, while Hunter-Reay would pull out of third place to do the same on Lap 20. When O’Ward did the same, his hard-earned places were given away when he stalled.
Newgarden, Rosenqvist and Daly stopped on Lap 21, and Chip Ganassi Racing’s #10 team managed to get the Swede out ahead of the ECR machine.
Power stopped next time by, as did Dixon, and both stops were clean. After his out lap, Power would enjoy a 3.8sec margin over Newgarden, although he was running sixth, as those who started on black tires – Rossi, Rahal, Herta, Ferrucci, VeeKay – tried to extend their stint for as long as the hard tires would last.
Power would be up with the tail-end of this quintet – a hard battle between Ferrucci and VeeKay – on Lap 25, and was eager not to lose too much time to leader Rossi who was 19sec ahead and setting strong times. The Andretti driver along with all other black-tire runners bar VeeKay stopped on Lap 26 for a set of reds, VeeKay going until L.27.
As the order shook out with everyone having stopped once, Power was left with a 2.9sec lead over Newgarden, with Hunter-Reay a further 2.3sec behind but coming under increasing pressure from the now soft-tired Rossi. Rosenqvist and Rahal were up to fifth and sixth ahead of Harvey, Daly was down in eighth but ahead of Dixon who had jumped past Herta when the Andretti driver ran wide exiting Turn 2. Herta would doggedly stay in the Ganassi cars’ wheeltracks, however, aided by running the softer compound rubber while Dixon was on the hards. This battle pulled them up onto the tail of Daly by Lap 37. At this stage, half distance, Power’s lead over Newgarden was six seconds, while Hunter-Reay and Rossi – still in that order despite Alex’s best efforts – were within 2sec of Newgarden. Just a second behind them was Rosenqvist on blacks, trying to hold off Rahal on reds.
Power caught up with 23rd and final runner Dalton Kellett on Lap 42, and the inevitable delay in getting around the AJ Foyt Racing machine – lost him a second to Newgarden but Josef would of course have the same problem. Some 25sec further back, meanwhile, Herta had took ninth from Dixon at Turn 4 and VeeKay also sliced past the five-time champion to bump the Ganassi car out of the Top 10. Another Ganassi car, that of Rosenqvist, was in the thick of battle however, tracking Hunter-Reay and Rossi while staving off Rahal.
That battle temporarily lost a participant when Rossi gave up on his reds to pit at the end of Lap 45. Next time by Newgarden, Hunter-Reay and Rosenqvist also stopped, and Rossi’s out lap had proved just strong enough to get around Hunter-Reay and move up to what would effectively be third place. Power and then Rahal would stop over the next two laps, leaving Herta temporarily up front, until he pitted on Lap 51.
Power now held an 8.2sec lead over Newgarden, with Rossi in third and within one second of the #1 Penske. Hunter-Reay had by now fallen to fifth behind Rahal, and the DHL machine was now under severe threat from Rosenqvist, last year’s runner-up at this track.
A delay for Herta behind Kellett allowed VeeKay to sweep around the outside of him to claim eighth on Lap 57.
Nearer the front, Rossi, while still lying just 1.1sec behind Newgarden, was simultaneously checking his mirrors for Rahal who was barely more than half a second behind.
Finally with nine laps to go, it looked like Rahal might have it, the pair of them having been slightly delayed while lapping Rossi’s teammate Zach Veach, but down the long drag to Turn 4, Rossi protected the inside and then the middle of the track once Rahal had committed to the outside line. The Andretti car stayed ahead.
Dark rain-swollen clouds were gathering over the track by now, and Power was clearly in no mood to allow this race to become a lottery and wanted it over with ASAP. As late as Lap 71, he was setting lap times within 0.8sec of his best and his lead was out to 9sec. Newgarden, too, was still lapping fast and had pulled 1.6sec away from Rossi who now appeared to have the measure of Rahal. The closest battle on track was between Hunter-Reay and Rosenqvist, but the Ganassi driver was somewhat stymied by having so few push to pass boosts left.
Finally in the last couple of laps, Power paid out the line a little, eventually passing the checkered flag 7.4sec ahead of Newgarden, with Rossi 1.5sec adrift and only a quarter-second ahead of Rahal.
Harvey had a lonely but worthy run to seventh, ahead of VeeKay and Herta. The big change came on the final lap when Daly appeared to run low on gas and tumbled from 10th to 13th, allowing Dixon, O’Ward and Alex Palou ahead.
This was the 38th victory of Will Power’s career, his first of the season, and saw him finally end his drought at this classic road course with a victory that had so often eluded him here.
|1|| Will Power ||Team Penske||75||1:29'08.909||113.978|
|2|| Josef Newgarden ||Team Penske||75||1:29'16.361||7.452||113.820|
|3|| Alexander Rossi ||Andretti Autosport||75||1:29'17.901||8.992||113.787|
|4|| Graham Rahal ||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||75||1:29'18.141||9.232||113.782|
|5|| Ryan Hunter-Reay ||Andretti Autosport||75||1:29'22.137||13.228||113.697|
|6|| Felix Rosenqvist ||Chip Ganassi Racing||75||1:29'23.026||14.117||113.678|
|7|| Jack Harvey ||Meyer Shank Racing||75||1:29'27.129||18.219||113.591|
|8|| Rinus van Kalmthout ||Ed Carpenter Racing||75||1:29'28.156||19.246||113.570|
|9|| Colton Herta ||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||75||1:29'34.935||26.026||113.426|
|10|| Scott Dixon ||Chip Ganassi Racing||75||1:29'41.627||32.717||113.285|
|11|| Patricio O'Ward ||Arrow McLaren SP||75||1:29'42.523||33.613||113.267|
|12|| Alex Palou ||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||75||1:29'43.386||34.476||113.248|
|13|| Conor Daly ||Ed Carpenter Racing||75||1:29'48.216||39.306||113.147|
|14|| Santino Ferrucci ||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan||75||1:29'51.905||42.996||113.069|
|15|| Marcus Ericsson ||Chip Ganassi Racing||75||1:29'52.604||43.695||113.055|
|16|| Max Chilton ||Carlin||75||1:29'53.381||44.471||113.039|
|17|| Takuma Sato ||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||75||1:29'54.751||45.841||113.010|
|18|| Simon Pagenaud ||Team Penske||75||1:29'55.148||46.238||113.002|
|19|| Oliver Askew ||Arrow McLaren SP||75||1:30'17.320||1'08.410||112.539|
|20|| Zach Veach ||Andretti Autosport||74||1:29'39.517||1 Lap||111.819|
|21|| Charlie Kimball ||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||74||1:30'01.099||1 Lap||111.372|
|22|| Dalton Kellett ||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||74||1:30'02.666||1 Lap||111.340|
|23|| Marco Andretti ||Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani||74||1:30'07.559||1 Lap||111.239|
|View full results|
IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Power claims 60th pole for Race 1
Power relieved to race hard without strategy dilemmas