Josef Newgarden secured a second consecutive victory and his third win of the season with a dominant drive around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday.
The Team Penske driver started on the front row of the grid alongside polesitter Will Power, and maintained position at the start, sliding into position behind his team-mate.
However, it was not long before Newgarden started to apply the pressure on Power, and he pulled off a great move into turn four to inherit the lead just before the first round of pit stops, a position he would maintain for the remainder of the race.
The only moment of worry for Newgarden was at a restart following the races one and only caution period, but the lapped car of Esteban Gutierrez enabled him to edge away again, and he remained unchallenged to the chequered flag, with the win taking him to the top of the championship standings.
Power’s attention towards the end of the race was not on Newgarden but on Graham Rahal, who kept the pressure on and made a couple of attempts to pass into turn four, only to be denied by the Australian.
Simon Pagenaud made it three Team Penske machines inside the top four, finishing on Rahal’s tail, while Takuma Sato converted his strong qualifying performance into a strong race result in fifth for Andretti Autosport.
Alexander Rossi started ninth for Andretti Herta Autosport and drove well, getting as high as fourth before finishing sixth, surviving contact with his team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay early on that spun the former series champion down the order.
Helio Castroneves was seventh in the final of the four Penske machines ahead of Hunter-Reay, who made a great recovery from his spin to take eighth, while pre-race championship leader Scott Dixon could only manage ninth, with the Chip Ganassi Racing driver complaining about the handling of his car mid-race.
His team gambled on bringing him in early during the second pit stop window but the gamble could only finish down in ninth, which moves him down to third in the championship standings behind Newgarden and Castroneves.
The top ten was completed by Conor Daly of AJ Foyt Racing after the American made a move late in the day on James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, who ended up eleventh ahead of Marco Andretti.
The only caution period was caused by a spin for Ed Jones, although the rookie was able to return to the race albeit down at the back of the field, with he and Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Gutierrez ending up at the rear of the pack.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Race Result
|1||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||90 Laps|
|2||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||+5.1556s|
|3||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+6.3129s|
|4||1||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+6.8807s|
|5||26||Takuma Sato||JAP||Andretti Autosport||+7.3092s|
|6||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||+9.0266s|
|7||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||+11.6809s|
|8||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||+12.3623s|
|9||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+18.1857s|
|10||4||Conor Daly||USA||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+20.5661s|
|11||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+27.3241s|
|12||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||+29.9928s|
|13||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||+31.1248s|
|14||7||Mikhail Aleshin||RUS||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+32.5958s|
|15||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||+33.1095s|
|16||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||+36.1997s|
|17||21||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+1:00.8248s|
|18||14||Carlos Munoz||COL||AJ Foyt Enterprises||+1 Lap|
|19||20||Spencer Pigot||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+1 Lap|
|20||18||Esteban Gutierrez||MEX||Dale Coyne Racing||+1 Lap|
|21||19||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing||+2 Laps|