O'Ward wins ahead of Palou

O’Ward wins ahead of Palou


The first start was canceled because the peloton was not loaded enough in the opinion of race director Kyle Novak. On the green, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay made no mistakes and led Turn 1 ahead of Pato O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy. Penske-Chevrolet’s Scott McLaughlin edged past Chip Ganassi Racing champion Alex Palou for third, then pushed him back into Turn 5. Behind Palou, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and the second AMSP car from Felix Rosenqvist finished fifth and sixth, while Romain Grosjean (Andretti) was seventh, followed by Callum Ilott in the Juncos Hollinger Racing-Chevy.

Ilott was chased by Graham Rahal, while Penske’s three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden moved up from seventh to 10and, his bet to start with Firestone’s harder main tire didn’t pay off at this point. Behind him was Colton Herta, also in the black primaries.

Ericsson, current 13and, was the first to oppose and engage in a three-stop strategy, moving from alternates to primaries. A lap later Newgarden, Jack Harvey and Helio Castroneves followed suit, and a lap after that Herta copied Newgarden, moving from primaries to alternates. He emerged behind championship leader Penske. His teammate Romain Grosjean stopped on lap 13, going from reds to blacks, and as he emerged Newgarden was in his draft and passed him in turn 5.

Herta tried to do the same along the front straight, but when Grosjean blocked the inside line, Herta held on, snuck through but slipped into Turn 1. Herta charged once more and made an extremely brave pass on the inside of Turn 11.

In the lead on lap 20 of the 90-lap race, VeeKay held a two-second lead over O’Ward, who had a similar margin over McLaughlin. About 1.5 seconds later, Palou had to watch his mirrors for Rossi and Rosenqvist.

Will Power, the Penske pilot who started 19andwas now the highest ranked driver in the primaries in 13andand very clearly one of two stops, but he ran almost four seconds behind Devlin DeFrancesco, apparently trying to save a lot of fuel.

Rosenqvist was top-scored two pit stops, ducking sixth on lap 29 to grab a lead tire set, and his teammate, just two seconds off the lead, pitted the next time with Rossi and Ilott. Rossi stays ahead of Rosenqvist. VeeKay, McLauglin and Palou stopped on lap 30.

Thus, the three fastest saves were in the lead, with Newgarden battling with Herta. However, their chances of winning were effectively ruined when the first warning flew. Ilott had been battling Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves when he braked at Turn 8 and spun through the gravel at Turn 9 and got bogged down.

Newgarden, Herta and Grosjean opposed and fell to 16and17and and 18and.

On the restart, VeeKay held on ahead of O’Ward and McLaughlin but Rossi edged Palou to take fourth place. Rosenqvist ran sixth but shortly after the restart he was passed in Turn 5 by tired substitute Scott Dixon. A lap later he lost to Power, who had restarted 10andbut had passed Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal, taking advantage of his reds.

At the halfway point, lap 45, VeeKay led O’Ward by 2.5 seconds, with McLaughlin 1.5 seconds further, closely pursued by Rossi, Palou, Dixon and Power, with the latter pair backing up, and this covered upper septet of seven seconds. .

Further back, Herta had hopped Newgarden on the restart and fought his way forward, taking 10and of Simon Pagenaud of Meyer Shank Racing. Rahal and Herta then dropped Rosenqvist on lap 47, and Pagenaud passed the Swede at turn 5 a lap later to claim 10and. Newgarden and Grosjean got stuck in 14and and 15and behind Christian Lundgaard, but once Grosjean finally got ahead of Newgarden on lap 55, he wasted no time in moving ahead of the RLL rookie for 13and into turn 5. He then did some light work on Takuma Sato’s Dale Coyne Racing with the RWR machine and Rosenqvist to grab 11and on lap 58.

Rossi, Rahal and Pagenaud stopped on lap 60. On the next lap, VeeKay, O’Ward, McLaughlin and Power came through. VeeKay just came out ahead of O’Ward, after the AMSP rider delivered a great lap and his crew produced a perfect pit stop. All the way down the straight from Turn 2 to Turn 5, O’Ward was threatening. VeeKay turned left to defend the inside, but O’Ward rounded the outside to take the (clean) lead.

Dixon went one lap further than McLaughlin and Power, and emerged just ahead of McLaughlin. Although the series sophomore then rounded the outside of his compatriot at turn 5, he braked at turn 8/9 and briefly slid on the grass, allowing Dixon to pass and take fourth. square.

The last leader to stop – two laps after O’Ward and VeeKay – was Palou, and between a brilliant lap stop and a well-executed stop by the #10 Ganassi crew, the defending champion came out on top between them to take second place.

Power, the top-ranked driver on the fresh reds, closed in on McLaughlin and snatched fifth from his teammate on lap 68 at turn 5. A few laps later, McLaughlin had to defend against Herta, while teammates de Herta, Rossi and Grosjean were fighting. over ninth, resolved in favor of the latter on lap 73.

Palou closed the gap to O’Ward to around 1 second, but the AMSP rider started to pull away again with some personal best laps. Power dove inside Dixon at turn 5 to claim fourth lap on lap 75, but when Herta tried to replicate the move on McLaughlin he hit the Penske rider’s left rear and spun, falling at 10.and.

O’Ward and Palou, two seconds apart in the final 10 laps, were both pushing hard and had dropped VeeKay. The ECR rider had to maintain a strong pace, however, as Power charged him, and with five laps to go the gap was 3.7 seconds. Dixon was in a still impressive fifth – down from 13and on the grid – but the action was in his rear-view mirrors, as McLaughlin tried to ward off Rahal and Grosjean. In fact, it was Rahal and Grosjean who got into it, with the Frenchman knocking down the RLL driver twice on the exit of Turn 5 on Lap 86.

In the lead, O’Ward had wisely kept his thrust to pass and therefore his fuel, and was only let go on the last lap. He had executed perfectly and brought home the winner, a second ahead of last year’s winner, Palou.

VeeKay was still 11.5 seconds behind, setting his fastest lap of the race after allowing Power to pass in less than two seconds. VeeKay took the final spot on the podium 2.7 seconds ahead of the Penske driver.

Dixon held on to fifth ahead of McLaughlin, while Grosjean rounded Rahal on the final lap as the RLL driver ran out of fuel.

Championship Points:

1. Palou 144; 2. McLaughlin 141; 3.Newgarden 135; 4. Power 134; 5. O’Ward 114; 6. Dixson 113; 7. Veekay 106; 8. Grosjean 101; 9 = Ericsson, Rahal 84; 11.Herta 79; 12. Pagenaud 69; 13. Rossi 62; 14.Sato 61; 15.Lundgard 57.

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