|Pagenaud races to victory|
Points leader Simon Pagenaud extended his Verizon IndyCar point lead with victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sunday by 4.162 sec. over teammate Will Power and Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz who started 15th.
Graham Rahal came home 4th for Honda with James Hinchcliffe rounding out the top-5.
Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves got together early in the race resulting in Dixon not finishing.
Starting from pole, Pagenaud led only 17 laps through the first two-thirds of the 90-lap race – the 32nd Indy car event on the permanent road course since 1980 – due to teams' differing fuel strategies. Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, even passed his teammate during a mid-race pit-stop sequence by staying on track two laps longer.
The decisive moment of the race came on a Lap 66 restart with Power running second and Pageanud third. Pagenaud made repeated bold overtaking maneuvers throughout the lap, with the two Penske cars making side-to-side contact several times until Pagenaud finally forced his way past Power exiting the 13th and final turn on the 2.258-mile circuit.
Pagenaud pulled away from Power and then waited out race leader Conor Daly, who had to stop for a splash of Sunoco E85R ethanol six laps shy of the finish.
"It was an awesome battle with Will there," Pagenaud said. "I knew that was my chance on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap, fun driving like that. That's racing. It was fair, it was clean, it was hard racing."
Power, who collected his fifth straight top-two finish of the season, was mad at himself for not getting a good jump on the critical restart.
"I was sleeping on that restart and I regret that," Power admitted. "I should have been on it, then I got marbles on the tires. It was a good, clean battle. It was tough but it sucked finishing second, all the effort you put into that race.
"But Simon did a bloody good job and it's turning into a pretty good battle."
Carlos Munoz used a fuel-saving strategy to finish third in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda, the Colombian's best showing since he placed second at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May. Defending race winner Graham Rahal finished fourth in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda.
The drive of the day was by Conor Daly who started last and came home in sixth for Dale Coyne Racing with some good pit strategy. But he was fast too.
"It is nice to get another finish up front," said Daly. "It has been such a tough season. And now we have had 3 or 4 sixth place finishes and a second."
Conor explained what the issue was with him on the track all weekend. "We kept locking the right fronts so easily. I kept sailing off the track. As soon as I sorted out the brake bias, the car was amazing."
Asked about the last restart. Conor said, "they called the green so late, I was saving so much fuel that my brakes were ice cold and my tires were like rocks. As soon as they said we were are going green, oh my gosh, this is crazy. And I had to go for it. Thankfully it worked."
|Pagenaud gets a big jump at the start|
"I can't feel anything right now, so it's all good," said Pagenaud nursing a sore back. "My back was fine all race. Unbelievable. Thanks to IndyCar medical. That was a race! Wasn't that fun? It was awesome. I had a great battle with Will (Power) there at the end. I knew that was my chance. So, on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap and it was fun driving like that. It reminded me of my sports car days around Mid-Ohio. That's racing. It was fair and clean and it was hard racing and I'm just glad I won, really.
"I just want to thank PPG and Chevy for providing us again, I always say, but for providing us such a great aero kit and engine and obviously Verizon. What an incredible job they're doing to help IndyCar grow and continue growing. Thanks to them for bringing the fans to the race track. It's awesome to see all the fans in the infield. The track is packed. It's really cool.
"The red tires were amazing today on the car. So, I just pushed as hard as I could and here we are. Four wins. It's good this year."
Mikhail Aleshin who led the most laps until a pit road incident with Josef Newgarden on Lap 62 ruined his day said after the race, "The team did a fantastic job to bring car #7 SMPT racing up to speed. We had good progress for all the weekend. We had been leading most of the race and I was saving fuel. I was the fastest car on the track. It just shows our potential. Next time we are going be more lucky and I am gonna kick some ass."
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]How the race unfolded
Lap 1: Race begins as cars pass finish line. GREEN: 22-Pagenaud leads the field out of the Keyhole into Turn 4. It is the sixth time he’s led the opening lap of a race this season and his 10th race led in 2016.
Lap 3: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 0.9207 of a second. 27-Andretti has moved to 15th from 21st starting spot.
Lap 5: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 1.2957 seconds.
Lap 8: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 1.5785 seconds.
Lap 9: 18-Daly on pit road for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 10: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 2.0654 seconds. 19-Enerson on pit road for four redtires and fuel.
Lap 11: 20-Pigot on pit road for four red tires and fuel.
Lap 12: 9-Dixon, 14-Sato and 11-Bourdais on pit road four tires and fuel.
Lap 13 3-Castroneves on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 14: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 3.3297 seconds. 7-Aleshin and 26-Munoz on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 15: FULL COURSE YELLOW. 9-Dixon is off course in Turn 2 after contact with 3-Castroneves with a damaged left front suspension. Pits are closed. Leaders under caution are: 22, 12, 21, 28, 83.
Lap 17: Pits are open. Lead cars are on pit road with exception of 2-Montoya and 27-Andretti who did not pit. 2-Montoya assumes the lead of the race. 5-Hinchcliffe has been issued a pit speed penalty and will take the restart from the rear of the field.
Lap 20: GREEN. 2-Montoya leads field into Turn 4.
Lap 21: 21-Newgarden on pit road to replace rear wheel pod after contact on track.
Lap 22: 3-Castroenves on pit road to replace rear wheel pod which was damaged in contact with 9-Dixon.
Lap 23: 2-Montoya leads 27-Andretti by 0.8997 of a second. 8-Chilton on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 25: 2-Montoya leads 27-Andretti by 1.0126 seconds.
Lap 26: Leaders 2-Montoya and 27-Andretti on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is 7-Aleshin. It is his first laps led since June 2014 at Texas.
Lap 28: 7-Aleshin leads 26-Munoz by 5.9139 seconds.
Lap 30: 7-Aleshin leads 26-Munoz by 6.0697 seconds.
Lap 33: 7-Aleshin leads 26-Munoz by 5.1440 seconds.
Lap 36: 18-Daly on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 37: 7-Aleshin leads 26-Munoz by 5.6470 seconds. 5-Hinchcliffe on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 38: 11-Bourdais, 20-Pigot and 19-Enerson on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 39: 14-Sato on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 40: Leader 7-Aleshin and 26-Munoz on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 41: 22-Pagenaud is now the leader of the race following the pit stops. He leads 12-Power by 4.0632 seconds.
Lap 42: Leader 22-Pagenaud on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is 12-Power. 98-Rossi also pits for service.
Lap 43: 28-Hunter-Reay, 10-Kanaan and 27-Andretti on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 44: Leader 12-Power, 83-Kimball, 2-Montoya and 21-Newgarden on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 45: 7-Aleshin assumes the lead of the race following the stops. He leads 12-Power by 9.0672 seconds.
Lap 48: 7-Aleshin leads 12-Power by 10.2470 seconds.
Lap 50: 7-Aleshin leads 12-Power by 10.8742 seconds.
Lap 53: 7-Aleshin leads 12-Power by 10.2939 seconds.
Lap 55: 7-Aleshin leads 12-Power by 10.6169 seconds.
Lap 56: 18-Daly on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 58: 7-Aleshin leads 12-Power by 10.2191 seconds.
Lap 61: FULL COURSE YELLOW. 41-Hawksworth off course in Turn 1. Pits are closed. Leaders under caution are: 7-Aleshin, 12-Power, 22-Pagenaud, 26-Munoz, 14-Sator
Lap 62: Pits are open. Leaders on pit road for four tires and fuel. 18-Daly does not pit and will assume the lead of the race. Power wins race off pit road. Contact between 7-Aleshin and 21-Newgarden on pit road. Cars make contact with crew of 2-Montoya.
Stewards have sent 7-Aleshin to the rear of the field for an unsafe pit release
Lap 64: 21-Newgarden, 2-Montoya and 3-Castroneves on pit road after taking wavearound.
Lap 66: GREEN. 18-Daly leads the field into Turn 4. 83-Kimball on course in Turn 4 and able to continue. 22-Pagenaud passes 12-Power for second in Turn 12.
Stewards have issued 7-Aleshin a drive through penalty for contact with personnel on pit lane.
Lap 68: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 2.1411 seconds.
Lap 70: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 2.8828 seconds.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: Team Penske crew member Vance Welker, the chief mechanic and outside front tire changer for 2-Montoya, has been checked and released from the infield care center.
Lap 73: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 4.8830 seconds.
Lap 75: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 6.5254 seconds.
Lap 78: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 7.6453 seconds.
Lap 80: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 8.2496 seconds.
Lap 82: 18-Daly leads 22-Pagenaud by 8.8336 seconds.
Lap 84: Leader 18-Daly on pit road for fuel only.
Lap 85: 22-Pagenaud is now leader and leads 12-Power by 3.7555 seconds.
Lap 87: LOCAL YELLOW in Turn 4 for contact between 14-Sato and 11-Bourdais. 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 4.4784 seconds.
Lap 89: WHITE: 22-Pagenaud leads 12-Power by 4.8763 seconds.
Lap 90: CHECKERED: 22-Pagenaud wins The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio by 4.1620 seconds over 12-Power.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet): "First, I want to say that I'm really glad that Vance Welker (No. 2 car chief mechanic – outside front tire changer) is OK, after the incident (in the pits between No. 7 and 21 cars) today. Secondly, the Hawk Performance Chevrolet was good all weekend and it definitely had the speed for a podium finish. For the race, we went with a different strategy and it didn't work out as well as we would have liked. We went with a different set of (Firestone) red tires that we thought would work well for us during the latter part of the race, but the balance was off after that. We have to keep our heads up and look ahead. We just need to go back and look at things this week and see what we can do differently for Pocono."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Hitachi Chevy was consistent. Unfortunately, I don't understand yet what happened with the No. 9 (Scott Dixon) in Turn 2. Obviously, I went to move to the inside. He was on the push-to-pass. I was on the push-to-pass. Unfortunately, I felt a big hit on the back. I didn't move anything. It is a shame. Not sure what happened. I have to ask him what happened. We stayed out but the sidepod was a little bit off and the rear of the car was moving a lot, especially in the high-speed section. I believe that is where I went off when I was passing the No. 8 car (Max Chilton), the rear just took off. Looks like some of my competitors had a bad day except for Will (Power) and (Simon) Pagenaud – great job for them. They are probably on their way to a good battle for the championship, but we will keep focused."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a solid result for the Arrow Electronics car. We had a really roller-coaster day, starting mid-field and ending up at the back after about mid-distance and then working our way back up to a top five. I have to give the guys a lot of credit. We had a bit of an evil balance in the first part of the race but every stop we worked on it and every stop we made it better. We got back on the (Firestone) red tires in the third stint and it really started to come to us. We picked off some guys in pit cycles and then picked off some guys on track in the last stint. We didn't catch either of the lucky yellows, we had to earn it, but after falling to the back of the line for a pit-lane speed violation, which was one hundred percent my fault, we raced our way back up to a top five. Great work in the pits and I'm happy for everyone at Arrow, and at Honda at one of their home races. It was a tough break for Mikhail (Aleshin) and the No. 7 crew but it shows that we have the pace as a team and hopefully we can prove that moving forward."
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): "The car was amazing. The team did a fantastic job to bring the No. 7 SMP Racing car up to speed. No one was really faster than we were. I felt quite competitive up there in the front and I wasn't pushing like crazy because I was also saving fuel. Everything was going proper, perfect and I was saving fuel but at the same time, I was the fastest car on the track so obviously the car was pretty good. I think the incident (in the pits with the No. 21 car) was unfortunate. I don't want to discuss it though. I want to just say that sometimes these things happen in the race and we're ready to win but we just got a little bit unlucky today."
MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was a long day in the office. I tried everything I could and I felt that my pace was pretty strong, but around here you have to be really strong to get by even with push-to-pass. It made it even harder with the temperatures, but I really did enjoy it out there this weekend. I learned a lot. It's one of those things where you need the luck of the draw to do well and we just didn't have it this weekend."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "Helio (Castroneves) was coming out of the pits on the pit exchange and we were trying to go off sequence. He was off pace and we caught him on the exit of Turn 1. I got alongside him and he kept edging me over until I just had nowhere to go. I braked when I was alongside him and then he just turned in. Had we had a little more room I think we could have gotten through there just fine. It was definitely an aggressive move but I should have known better trying that with Helio. It usually ends like this with him."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): "It was just one of those races where things didn't fall the way we wanted them to. We made our way up into the top 10 after our last stop and we were in good position to keep it up there, but I was one of the only guys up front on blacks and we just couldn't move forward or hold our position to the guys on red tires toward the end of the race. We had a really fast car in the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet and we showed it all weekend in practice, but it just didn't play out for us in the end."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "After a frustrating qualifying yesterday, we managed to find ourselves up front today after a good strategy call. Unfortunately, five laps to the end I felt I had a shot to get into the top four. I haven't seen the replay, but I guess I just got frustrated and missed my mark on the braking when I was close behind him (Takuma Sato). He braked and I tried to brake later and unfortunately I touched him. My bad to Takuma (Sato). The Hydroxycut car was good and I was growing increasingly frustrated not to be able to make use of it because he was not very fast. It just tipped me over the edge and I made a mistake. I feel bad for the Hydroxycut guys. They did a good job in the pits and deserved a better result. We'll just have to regroup now and see what we can do the last four races of the season."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Great strategy by the Verizon Chevy team and we did a great job saving on fuel. It was an interesting battle there. I was sleeping on that restart and I regret that. I should have been on it, then I got marbles on the tires. It was a good, clean battle. It was tough but it sucked finishing second, all the effort you put into that race. But Simon (Pagenaud) did a bloody good job and it's turning into a pretty good battle. Like Simon said, we're not racing for 11th place. It's for a win and for a championship and you have to go for it. It was my bad for not being on it on the restart. I regret that, but he's got to push. I thought of the team on the last corner when we went side-by-side, I had to back out or we were going to crash. It's racing. It's tough."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "Heckuva day. Incredible job from the team. (Strategist) Larry (Foyt) called the perfect strategy even though it was a little bit optimistic when we came to pit. Later on we caught a good yellow and gained track position. Then we were fighting the whole field! It was like qualifying every lap. My ABC guys gave me a super pit stop to get me out on the last stop — then we were fighting for fourth. It's a real shame what happened at the end (getting hit by Bourdais). We were able to salvage a ninth so still a good result for second straight race. Looking forward to the last part of the season."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda): "I'm a little bit frustrated we couldn't be a little better. I wanted to win today but I think we got the absolute most out of this thing. That first yellow kind of hurt us but that's how racing goes sometimes. We rebounded nicely and got some points. It feels good to get another top five for the Steak 'n Shake team. We have been pretty strong on the road courses this year. I wouldn't say luck was completely on our side; that first yellow hurt us, but we rebounded pretty well. I'm really proud of my Steak 'n Shake guys. We had our backs up against the wall after that first yellow but we kept our heads down. We had a great car today. It was faster than most but it was just hard to pass. It's always great to come back home. Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Steak 'n Shake team and the IndyCar Series."
CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality Honda): "I figured out the car in the middle of the race. We kept locking the right front up so easily and I kept sailing off, even in the race. As soon as I sorted the brake bias, the car was amazing. We had to pit because the right front tire was destroyed. Because of that, we were about seven laps short of making it to the end at that point. We knew we couldn't make it to the end so why not keep going and pushing. I tried to nail every single lap. We had a good enough car to stay up front and pull the gap that we needed. Sixth is about as good as we could've done in that scenario. I was just happy to pull away and lead like that for a stint. These guys kept their faith in me because I have driven the car off course all weekend. I'm just glad we could have a good finish."
RC ENERSON (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "We were really quick out there. The guys gave me a great car. We were the fastest Honda so that's a plus side and we were quick all race but it just didn't turn out our way. A lot of excitement today, but also a little bit of disappointment because I know we had a good car and we could have done a lot better. But I'm pretty tired, my neck and my hands, so I have to work on that but we'll keep pushing for it. For my debut, it really couldn't have gone any better. Of course we would have liked to finish further up, but this was a good start."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet): "I was happy with the amount of cars we were able to jump on strategy and pass on track. We moved up to seventh so I was happy with that. We had a good strategy and also really good pit stops so a big thanks to them. I also have to say thanks to Fuzzy's Vodka, Rising Star Racing, Mockett and everyone that helped me get here. I think we can keep moving forward. If we can qualify a bit better on Saturday, we won't have to try and save as much fuel and do these alternate strategies. Today it worked out, but hopefully in Watkins Glen we can start by qualifying a bit higher up."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): "It was tough day. I feel bad for my guys because I think we had a good car. (Simon) Pagenaud and (Will) Power would have been tough today, but I think we were a podium car for sure which would have been really good points for us. It's tough having two races in a row where we have our rear bumper taken off. It's no fault of our own but it ruins our race, it happened in Toronto and now here. I think it's probably a question for INDYCAR of how that's going to be handled. It's really hard for us to recover after those incidents. We did everything we could, our guys were lightning fast in the pits to get us back out with a new bumper. We tried to do some damage control and got a top 10 out of it, we'll take that and move on to try and win the next one."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet): "I can't feel anything right now so it's all good. My back was fine all race, thanks to INDYCAR Medical. Whew, that was a race there, that was fun. It was an awesome battle with Will (Power) there. I knew that was my chance on that restart, it was time to go. It was a pretty interesting lap, fun driving like that. That's racing. It was fair, it was clean, it was hard racing and I'm just glad I won, really. The PPG Chevrolet was really good today so when it was time to push it was easy to lay down some fast laps. The red Firestone tires were amazing today on the car. I just pushed as hard as we could and here we are. It's awesome. Four wins this year."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): "Finally we pitted at the right time – this year we've had a lot of bad luck. After qualifying we tried another setup for the warmup and I didn't like it so we just went back on the setup. It's nice to be back on the podium – it's been a long time. Really happy to be third after how the weekend (went). I have to thank my team, Honda, everyone – they nailed the pit strategy. For Andretti (Autosport) it's been quite a long time without (a podium finish) so it's nice to be back. We had the track position and we had the pace – it was really physical, especially with the black (tires) I had to push a lot."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "One of these days I'm going to catch a yellow to help us. We worked on strategy and had made it from P21 to P2, but that first yellow killed us. We had pace – after every time somebody pitted, we'd leap frog them and then we had to pit and then you're green. So it didn't work out for us in the end."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I'm so infuriated and frustrated with today's race. I don't really want to get into details or discuss it. The DHL car started P4, was strong and should have been on the podium today."
JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "At the beginning of the race we were holding steady but we weren't great on the used reds (tires). Unfortunately, we decided to stay out at the beginning and the yellow came out and we got hosed and sent to the back. On the new blacks, I was fine running in the pack with Graham (Rahal), (Charlie) Kimball and (Tony) Kanaan. Then we had a bobble on the second stop which was unfortunate because the first stop was very good. For some reason on the new reds the left front tire went away and I had no grip that stint. I was just hanging on at the end of the stint. I think I dropped an outside rear wheel into the grass going into Turn 1 trying to open up the corner and the car snapped when it was in the grass and off I went."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): "I feel really badly for the No. 83 crew – they did such an awesome job in pit lane. They gave me positions in every single pit stop and really gave me the opportunity to go for the podium. I got a little aggressive trying to pass the No. 26 car on that last restart and lost some spots. We ended up eighth which is definitely a fight back from where we were out there in the dirt with 30 (laps) to go. It's just difficult because the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet was quicker than that today. I'm disappointed, but I have to give so much credit to the guys and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend."
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): "The opening part of the race was quite good. We got up to P8, I think. Then we had an issue in the pit stops. To have issues in the pits when you're in yellow, you lose all track position. It's almost impossible to pass and that pretty much sealed our fate. I think we had OK pace, but when you go to the back of the line on a yellow flag, it's pretty much your day set."
|11||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||90||20.6074||2.0670||1:06.485||9||8||Chevy|
|19||19||RC Enerson||89||1 LAPS||52.2912||1:05.739||0||18||Honda|
|22||9||Scott Dixon||27||44 LAPS||33 LAPS||1:06.559||0||11||Chevy|
Winner's average speed: 110.853 mph
Time of Race: 01:49:59.6875
Margin of victory: 4.1620 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps
Lead changes: 7 among 5 drivers
Pagenaud 1 – 16
Montoya 17 – 25
Aleshin 26 – 40
Power 42 – 44
Aleshin 45 – 62
Daly 63 – 84
Pagenaud 85 – 90
UNOFFICIAL VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES POINT STANDINGS
- 1. Simon Pagenaud 484
- Will Power 426
- Helio Castroneves 373
- Josef Newgarden 364
- Scott Dixon 357
- Tony Kanaan 357
- James Hinchcliffe 329
- Carlos Munoz 328
- Graham Rahal 324
- Charlie Kimball 318
UNOFFICIAL SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR STANDINGS
- Alexander Rossi 316
- Conor Daly 240
- Max Chilton 187
- Spencer Pigot 134
- Matt Brabham 37
- Stefan Wilson 14
- RC Enerson 11
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 21. The race will be telecast live at 3 p.m. ET by NBCSN with and broadcast by the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network on its affiliates, including Sirius 209, XM 212, IndyCar.com and the Verizon INDYCAR Mobile app.
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