Will Power’s turn in a duel with fellow NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon for fourth place at the start of Sunday’s The Honda Indy 200 in Mid-Ohio presented by HPD Ridgeline was one thing, but the way the rest of the peloton reacted to the Turn 5 incident was something to see.
Power’s No.12 Verizon 5G Team Chevrolet Penske rolled over helplessly and perilously in the face of traffic in a blind turn amid a cloud of tire smoke, and nearly 20 cars in the drags rushed their best. About half went to Power’s right, the other half to his left. Inside the stopped car, Power was surely holding his breath. Fortunately, only one car hit him, although the impact was quite severe.
Ed Jones and his # 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda SealMaster with Vasser Sullivan had nowhere to go, slamming Power’s car with the front wheel left. Fortunately, no driver was seriously injured, although Power was released from the medical center with a coiled and painful wrist.
“I stupidly left my hands on the wheel when it’s all that smoke,” Power said. “A good lesson (learned) there.”
The initial inspection revealed no broken bones, and Power will have a month to recover as the next race, the inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee, is August 6-8.
Power and Dixon had swapped positions twice before lap 4. When they got to turn 5, Power sank his left side tires onto the curb and appeared to have light contact with Dixon’s car. From there it was a frightening slide past the competitors in charge.
Power believed Dixon had “squeezed” him into the corner, but he also said that tire selection for him and Dixon to start the race also played a role.
“I slowed down a lot to make sure I didn’t touch him,” Power said of Dixon. “He squeezed me so tight; it was impossible (avoid contact). My car was on the sidewalk. Dude, that sucks.
“I should have known that (Dixon) would be aggressive because he was on reds (Firestone alternative tires) and I was on blacks (Firestone primary tires), so he really wanted to get out of it. what you get when you pick black, right? People are going to attack you pretty hard.
Dixon said: “We had to pass Will. At no time did I want to take anyone out. It was just a racing incident. We were pushing hard. “
The battle was reminiscent of last year’s brawl between the two drivers in the same part of the track, which Dixon, who had the worst of the situation, had obviously not forgotten.
“I gave Will a lot of room outside (last year), and he kind of took me off the track there,” Dixon said. “I didn’t do anything on purpose (this time) and I’m sorry her day didn’t go.”
Dixon finished fourth in Chip Ganassi Racing’s # 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda, dropping three points to teammate Alex Palou (# 10 Honda NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing) in pursuit of his seventh NTT INDYCAR Championship record. SERIES. Dixon remains third in the standings, 56 points behind series leader Palou. Power fell to 11th place in the table, 175 points off the lead.
Andretti Autosport’s first problems
During last year’s visit to Mid-Ohio, Andretti Autosport swept the top three in race two of the doubles program with Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay respectively. On Sunday, Michael Andretti’s team did not have such results.
Hunter-Reay was hit from behind in the first corner of the race by teammate James Hinchcliffe (# 29 Honda #ShiftToGreen), sending his # 28 Honda DHL spinning through the grass at Turn 4. Herta, who s’ qualified second in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, was still in that position when he made his first pitstop. But the refueling mechanism malfunctioned, costing him at least an additional 15-18 seconds.
It wasn’t Herta’s only problem. The # 26 Honda Gainbridge stalled out of the pit at its second stop, costing it even more time. At the end of the race, he was 13th in a field of 26 cars.
Rossi finished fifth in the No. 27 Honda NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation, his best result of the season after three seventh places.
Hinchcliffe finished 17th, Hunter-Reay 24th. The team has won only one race so far this season: Herta in the Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, the second race of the year.
- Sunday’s INDYCAR race was Santino Ferrucci’s fourth of the season, and he each finished in the top 10 in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s # 45 Honda Hy-Vee. His ninth place on Sunday followed two sixths and a 10th.
- Romain Grosjean’s first INDYCAR season continues to be productive. He finished seventh on Sunday in Dale Coyne Racing’s # 51 Honda NURTEC ODT with RWR, his third top-10 in seven starts. He was second in the road race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and fifth at Road America. Grosjean has gained 11 places from his 18th starting position. Only Ferrucci (started on 22sd, finished ninth) and Pato O’Ward (started 20th, finished eighth) gained more places in the 80-lap race.
- First-time INDYCAR rider Ryan Norman (# 52 Honda KOINU INU / EVO of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) and series rookie Jimmie Johnson (# 48 Honda Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing) performed admirably, finishing to a lap of the head lap while the circuit is one of the shortest of the season. They finished 20th and 22nd respectively.
- NHL star Jack Roslovic, a forward for the Columbus Blue Jackets, rode with racing icon Mario Andretti in the INDYCAR SERIES Ruoff Fastest Seat in Sports two-seater car ahead of the green race flag. Roslovic, 24, is from Columbus, Ohio.
- Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood completed his sweep of the weekend’s Indy Lights races, taking his season tally to six wins, including five of the last six. He also regained the lead in series points with eight laps remaining. Kirkwood leads HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas by two points.
- Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea won the 2000 Indy Pro race, which earned him two wins this season; Series points leader Christian Rasmussen of Jay Howard Driver Development won Saturday’s race. There are seven laps left. Rasmussen’s advantage in the standings is 34 points over Exclusive Autosport’s Braden Eves.
- Michael of Orlando of Cape Motorsports finished a stellar weekend at USF2000, winning his second of three races. He finished second behind Kiko Porto of DEForce Racing in Saturday’s race. D’Orlando has won three races this season, Porto two. Porto leads the standings with 32 points with five laps remaining.