O’Ward Paces Field in Second Mid-Ohio Practice; Newgarden and Herta Within a Tenth

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Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

Pato O’Ward led the final practice session ahead of Qualifying for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, with the Mexican getting the better of Friday’s pacesetter Josef Newgarden.

O’Ward, one of only two drivers to have won twice during the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, set a best lap of 1:06.0911 to lead the way for the Chevrolet-powered Arrow McLaren SP team, although he was only 0.0082 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Newgarden.

Colton Herta was third for Andretti Autosport, just 0.0928 seconds off the pace as the top twenty-one cars of the twenty-six cars racing this weekend were within a second of O’Ward’s best time.

Fourth went the way of Graham Rahal of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, 0.2437 seconds off O’Ward’s best, while fifth was Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, just ahead of Team Penske duo Will Power and Scott McLaughlin, the latter the first of the rookies in the field.

Jack Harvey, who will be looking to get his season back on track after a torrid run of bad luck and bad results since the Indianapolis 500 in May, was eighth fastest, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was only ninth, just ahead of Arrow McLaren’s returning driver Felix Rosenqvist.

Dixon and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi both had off-track moments at turn four, while Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton and the fourth Penske of Simon Pagenaud had moments of their own at turn one.

Romain Grosjean missed out on the top ten by just 0.0218 seconds for Dale Coyne Racing, while championship leader Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing was down in twelfth, 0.6759 seconds off the pace but ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus Veekay.

Debutant Ryan Norman of Dale Coyne Racing was down in twenty-fifth, ahead only of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson, with the former NASCAR champion again struggling compared to the rest of the field, 2.1941 seconds off the outright pace of O’Ward and seven-tenths of a second back on Norman.

Mid-Ohio Free Practice 2 Result

15Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP1:06.091122
22Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske+0.008219
326Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport+0.092820
415Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+0.243722
528Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport+0.274624
612Will PowerAUSTeam Penske+0.303223
73Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske+0.345326
860Jack HarveyGBRMeyer Shank Racing+0.404419
99Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing+0.504424
107Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP+0.590419
1151Romain GrosjeanFRADale Coyne Racing+0.612218
1210Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing+0.675923
1321Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing+0.700223
1427Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport+0.735819
158Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing+0.763926
1614Sebastien BourdaisFRAAJ Foyt Enterprises+0.778423
1729James HinchcliffeCANAndretti Autosport+0.867921
1822Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske+0.871625
1918Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing+0.954716
2059Max ChiltonGBRCarlin+0.978522
2145Santino FerrucciUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+0.991821
2230Takuma SatoJAPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+1.253926
2320Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing+1.295621
244Dalton KellettCANAJ Foyt Enterprises+1.377325
2552Ryan NormanUSADale Coyne Racing+1.400921
2648Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi Racing+2.194126
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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