Josef Newgarden takes checkered flag for second consecutive IndyCar race
Josef Newgarden dominated at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the way to his second straight IndyCar victory at the Honda Indy 200 on Sunday.
Newgarden was not challenged most of the day on the 90-lap, 2.2-mile course and finished 5.156 seconds ahead of Team Penske teammate Will Power, the pole-sitter. Newgarden won at Toronto on July 16 and has six career wins, three this season.
Newgarden moved from fourth to first in the series points standings, seven points ahead of Helio Castroneves.
“We had an awesome race. It’s what we needed,” Newgarden said. “This was a good day for Team Penske.”
Local favorite Graham Rahal, who won two years ago, was third for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) was fourth.
Newgarden showed his intentions early when he made an inside pass on Power on the 14th lap. Rahal took a temporary lead when Newgarden pitted on lap 41 but when Rahal went in the next time around, Newgarden went to the front.
By lap 50, the Tennessee native had extended his lead over Power to 6.5 seconds. Meanwhile, Rahal couldn’t get around last-place Carlos Munoz for more than a dozen laps and lost contact with Power.
“We didn’t have the machine to stay with him today,” Power said. “It wasn’t my race today. I’m very happy with second.”
Five-time winner Scott Dixon, who came in as the series leader, radioed around lap 40 that something was broken and struggled to a ninth-place finish for Chip Ganassi Racing.
He is third in the standings, eight points back.
The lone caution came in lap 67 when Ed Jones spun out in turn 9.
Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay went side-by-side on lap 18 and touched wheels, causing Hunter-Reay to spin, but he quickly regained control. Neither driver was penalized.
Newgarden is the first three-time winner this season. There were nine winners in the previous 12 races, with Power and Rahal winning twice.