Scott McLaughlin continues Team Penske‘s dominance in the 2022 season, winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio amidst engine failures and teammate collisions throughout the field. This makes six wins out of nine races for Roger Penske’s crew, with Alex Palou finishing second and Will Power putting together the drive of his life to finish on the podium in third.
After Kyle Kirkwood went off-track on lap 30, race control held off on throwing the caution until all drivers got the chance to hit pit road. Immediately after everyone had a chance to get to pit road, caution was immediately thrown. This meant that McLaughlin was able to keep his lead and not lose time on an out lap. From here, the second-year driver kept his race clean and defended well against Palou to win his second career IndyCar race with his Mom and Dad in attendance.
“I really wanted to get a win here with Mom and Dad…” McLaughlin said. “…to have [them] here was super special…”
The first start of the race was abandoned because the field was not compact enough, but on the second attempt Pato O’Ward led the field to green. Every driver made it through turn four clean, but an ambitious dive by Power, who started in twenty-first, sent him spinning in turn nine. He kept the car going, but was now far behind the pack in dead last.
As O’Ward settled into the lead, engine issues plagued his teammate Felix Rosenqvist. While in third place, the Swede’s engine gave way on lap nine, bringing out the first caution of the day in heartbreaking fashion.
The race went back green on lap 13, with O’Ward maintaining his lead. Behind him, Colton Herta looked for a move on second-place McLaughlin in turn one, but couldn’t make the move stick and lost third to Scott Dixon.
Pit stops began for the leaders on lap 24, as Josef Newgarden and Rinus Veekay, both outside the top ten at the time, made their first pit stops. They benefitted greatly from performing the undercut, catapulting themselves into the top ten. After seeing his teammate go down, O’Ward began reporting that he was down on power on lap 27, but stayed on track as the team tried to figure out the issue. He pit on lap 30 along with Dixon.
That same lap, Kirkwood bottomed out in turn eight before making a huge impact with the outside barrier in turn nine. Race control made the controversial decision to let every driver get to pit road before throwing the caution, immediately putting it out later because there was no immediate danger where Kirkwood’s car was located. This allowed McLaughlin to take the lead and not have to lose time on an out lap. O’Ward slipped to fourth, while Newgarden, Veekay, and Palou all used the undercut to jump up into the top ten. Also in the top ten was Power, who had already pit once but was now back on strategy after his spin on the first lap.
As for Kirkwood, another strong start did not end so well, finishing twenty-sixth after starting in the top ten.
McLaughlin led the field back to green on lap 36 and had to defend against a charging Palou on softer tyres, but another caution flew after only a couple of corners for Dalton Kellett, who was spun by Jack Harvey in the ‘keyhole” turn two. Harvey was penalized for causing a collision, and served a drive-through penalty.
A much better restart for McLaughlin on lap 40 saw him keep the lead once again, as Veekay further back made a dazzling move around the outside of Newgarden and Dixon in turn six to take fourth place.
This stint was tough to watch for Arrow McLaren SP fans, as the down-on-power O’Ward was continuously passed on the backstretch lap after lap, plummeting down the order. Power, however, was aggressively moving the other way, taking the fight to the field as he battled his way to the front.
O’Ward’s car finally gave way on lap 54, crawling to a halt at the exit of pit lane. At the same time, another mechanical issue for a Chevrolet-powered team saw Tatiana Calderon come to a halt in turn four with mechanical issues, Once again race control gave everyone the opportunity to pit before throwing the caution. Only one driver didn’t pit before the caution, Herta, who was running in the top ten all day before this communication error.
It was announced later that O’Ward was suffering from fuel delivery issues before full engine failure. He finished twenty-fourth.
Herta stayed out to lead the field to the next restart on lap 58, but still had yet to pit. At the back of the pack, Callum Ilott became another victim of mechanical issues as he retired after qualifying and running in the top ten for the first half of the race. Andretti Autosport‘s day went from bad to worse one lap later as teammates Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi made contact in turn two after a quite aggressive scrap the lap prior.
Rossi was already going wide in the corner, when wheel to wheel contact sent the wheel out of Rossi’s hands, putting both cars off track.
One more restart came with 18 laps to go, accompanied by one more moment of Andretti drama the next lap as Herta was tagged in the right rear by Grosjean in turn two, but was able to keep his car going.
Thankfully, that was the last issue, as McLaughlin held on to win his second career race, with Palou in second. Incredibly enough, in his first win at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg earlier this year, Palou also finished second.
Power was the driver of the day beyond a shadow of a doubt, going from dead last on lap one to third at the end of the day. A tremendous effort and testament to this new, more level-headed mindset of the Australian veteran.
Veekay was a driver that came into this weekend needing a result, and thanks to great pace and strategy, got just that finishing fourth. Dixon rounded out the top five with a quiet yet strong performance for his fourth top five finish of the year.
After not advancing out of the first round of qualifying like Power, Marcus Ericsson also used the plethora of caution flags to find himself in the top ten and still at the top of the points standings with his sixth place finish. Behind him was Newgarden in seventh, putting all of Penske’s cars in the top ten.
Meyer Shank Racing had a great race, putting both of their cars in the top ten with Helio Castroneves eighth and Simon Pagenaud tenth. Splitting the veterans was the youth of rookie David Malukas, who once again had a brilliant weekend that saw him as the highest finishing rookie of the race in ninth.
Ericsson and Power’s stellar performances saw them keep their spots in first and second in the championship, while Palou jumps Newgarden for third. Now, attention moves north of the border as the IndyCar Series returns to the streets of Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto on 17 July.
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Official Results
|1||3||Scott McLaughlin||NZL||Team Penske||1:46:43.3290|
|2||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 0.5512 sec.|
|3||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||+ 3.8415 sec.|
|4||21||Rinus VeeKay||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 11.3742 sec.|
|5||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 12.3194 sec.|
|6||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 13.0700 sec.|
|7||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||+ 13.7717 sec.|
|8||06||Helio Castroneves||BRA||Meyer Shank Racing||+ 16.8590 sec.|
|9||18||David Malukas (R)||USA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports||+ 19.0958 sec.|
|10||60||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Meyer Shank Racing||+ 26.1914 sec.|
|11||30||Christian Lundgaard (R)||DEN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 27.0849 sec.|
|12||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 28.9183 sec.|
|13||20||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||+ 29.4121 sec.|
|14||51||Takuma Sato||JPN||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing||+ 29.7488 sec.|
|15||26||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 35.6803 sec.|
|16||48||Jimmie Johnson||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 36.6512 sec.|
|17||29||Devlin DeFrancesco (R)||CAN||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||+ 39.6556 sec.|
|18||16||Simona De Silvestro||SUI||Paretta Autosport||+ 46.0278 sec.|
|19||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||+ 46.9341 sec.|
|20||45||Jack Harvey||GBR||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 1:05.0242 sec.|
|21||28||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Andretti Autosport||– 1 Lap|
|22||4||Dalton Kellett||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||– 2 Laps|
|23||77||Callum Ilott (R)||GBR||Juncos Hollinger Racing||Mechanical|
|24||5||Pato O’Ward||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||Mechanical|
|25||11||Tatiana Calderon (R)||COL||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Mechanical|
|26||14||Kyle Kirkwood (R)||USA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Accident|
|27||7||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Arrow McLaren SP||Mechanical|