After finishing second fastest in practice and starting on the pole, Will Power dominated race one of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio to claim his first win at the track.
After claiming pole earlier in the day, Power would lead the field to green and dart away from fellow front row starter Ryan Hunter-Reay.
As the field ran down to what is normally turn four, Hunter-Reay would find himself swallowed up by Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly, who made a brilliant move around the outside going through the uphill turn five.
On lap two going into turn two, also known as the ‘keyhole”, Simon Pagenaud would make an audacious dive on rookie Rinus VeeKay, with the move causing the Frenchman Pagenaud to spin and fall to dead last. He would recover to finish eighteenth.
Points leader Scott Dixon, who started a dismal seventeenth, made an incredible charge through the pack and by lap three already found himself up to thirteenth. He would be able to take advantage of another scrap in the keyhole, this time between Marco Andretti and VeeKay, making a move around the outside of Andretti in turn four and making it up to eleventh on lap nine.
Power took his lead and ran, with nobody catching the 39-year-old Australian until the pit stops. Power pit on lap twenty one, switching from the softer compound red wall Firestone tyres to a fresh set of the harder black wall tyres. He was able to comfortably find himself ahead of the likes of Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, Daly, and Felix Rosenqvist, who pit on the prior two laps.
Cycling into the lead would be Alexander Rossi, who started the race on the black wall tyres. Rossi wasn’t alone in this strategy, as Graham Rahal, Colton Herta, Santino Ferrucci, and VeeKay would also find themselves on this strategy.
The leaders of this pack, Rossi, Rahal, and Herta, would all pit on lap twenty six, all for fresh reds. Rossi would be jump up a spot to fourth ahead of Rosenqvist. After fighting in the top five in the first stint, Daly found himself down in eighth place.
The next stint would be all Power, as he would stretch his gap to Newgarden to over five seconds by lap 40. The leaders would begin to make their final pit stops on lap 45, as Rossi would hit pit road for a fresh set of black wall tyres. The rest of the top five would all pit on the very next lap, and Power would pit from the lead on lap 47 to ensure that he didn’t get caught out by a potential caution. From there, he wouldn’t look back as he cruised to the win.
As Rossi exited the pits, Andretti would go off track in the keyhole and do some off-roading before getting back on track. After starting eleventh, he would finish dead last. A day to forget for the No.98 team.
Behind him however, there was still exciting racing to be had. With 19 laps to go, VeeKay made a gorgeous move around the outside of both Herta and the lapped car of Dalton Kellett in turn four, celebrating with an emphatic “WOOOO” on the radio after the move. The rookie would go on to finish in a solid eighth place.
With less than ten laps to go, dark clouds began to roll in over the course, and sprinkles of rain threatened late race chaos. However, the precipitation stayed away as Power would claim his first win in 10 races. Power’s win also means that every Team Penske driver has won this year.
Newgarden would finish second, marking his sixth top five finish this year. It also means that the defending series champion has cut Dixon’s championship lead down to 76 points after Dixon’s tenth place finish. Rossi would also claim Andretti Autosport‘s second podium of the year with his third place finish.
Qualifying for race two will begin at 10:15 EST / 15:15 EST on Sunday.
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1 Final Results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||TOTAL TIME|
|1||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||1:29:08.909|
|2||1||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||+ 7.452|
|3||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 8.992|
|4||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 9.232|
|5||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 13.228|
|6||10||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 14.117|
|7||60||Jack Harvey||ENG||Meyer Shank Racing||+ 18.219|
|8||21||Rinus VeeKay (R)||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 19.246|
|9||88||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||+ 26.026|
|10||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 32.717|
|11||5||Pato O’Ward||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||+ 33.613|
|12||55||Alex Palou (R)||ESP||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Team Goh||+ 34.476|
|13||20||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 39.306|
|14||18||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan||+ 42.996|
|15||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 43.695|
|16||59||Max Chilton||ENG||Carlin||+ 44.471|
|17||30||Takuma Sato||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 45.841|
|18||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||+ 46.238|
|19||7||Oliver Askew (R)||USA||Arrow McLaren SP||+ 1:08.410|
|20||26||Zach Veach||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 1 lap|
|21||4||Charlie Kimball||USA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||+ 1 lap|
|22||14||Dalton Kellett (R)||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||+ 1 lap|
|23||98||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian||+ 1 lap|