Power, Herta claim IndyCar victories at Mid-Ohio

Another NTT IndyCar Series doubleheader was held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday and Sunday. Will Power and Colton Herta dominated the races from the pole position and each claimed their first wins of the 2020 season.

Weekend Advance

The Honda Indy 200 doubleheader was confirmed just a week ahead of the race weekend.

Entering the tenth and eleventh races of the 2020 IndyCar season, Scott Dixon had a 96-point lead over Josef Newgarden. The last two IndyCar series champions also won the last two races held this season, sweeping the weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway last month.

Practice

Just a 1 hour and 15 minute practice session was held ahead of the doubleheader weekend. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay led the session with a 66.303-second (122.600MPH lap average) lap.

Dixon spun in the session, but maintained a fourth-place result in the session. Championship contender Newgarden ended the session in sixth.

Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward crashed hard in the session and was forced to sit out for the remainder of the morning.

Honda Indy 200 Practice Results (PDF)

Race 1 Recap

Will Power won for the 38th-time in his career on Saturday.

Qualifying

For the 60th-time in his Indy car career, Power claimed the NTT P1 Award during Saturday afternoon’s qualification session. Power set a 66.334-second (122.543MPH average) lap around the Lexington, Ohio circuit. His lap was two-tenths faster than his Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden in the first group.

With doubleheader qualifying rules in place, the grid was determined off of each qualifying group’s results. Ryan Hunter-Reay posted the third-fastest lap overall, but became the outside pole sitter after going fastest in group two.

Scott Dixon struggled in qualifying and lined up 17th on the grid.

Honda Indy 200 Qualifying Race No. 1 (PDF)

Race

Will and Liz Power celebrate a win in the Honda Indy 200.

Will and Liz Power share a kiss in victory lane at Mid-Ohio on Saturday. (Picture Credit: Chris Owens/INDYCAR Media)

Power led 66 of the 75 laps from the pole position.

Start

It was a calm start with Power breaking away from the field early-on. On the second lap, Simon Pagenaud dived on rookie Rinus VeeKay entering the turn known as the “keyhole”, making contact with the dutchman. Pagenaud spun and failed to recover in the ensuing 73 laps, finishing 18th after receiving two penalties.

Dixon’s Recovery

Dixon was able to recover from his 17th-place starting position to claw inside the top 10. Dixon passed Conor Daly on the final lap for the 10th-place position. However, his championship rival of Newgarden finished in the runner-up position.

Race Results

Ohio-native Graham Rahal barely missed out on a podium behind Alexander Rossi. Felix Rosenqvist finished in sixth.

Honda Indy 200 Race No. 1 Results (PDF)

Race 2 Recap

The 20-year-old Andretti Autosport pilot won from the pole for just his third win in IndyCar competition on Sunday.

Qualifying

Sunday morning qualifying was crazy from Mid-Ohio.

Overnight and early morning showers made the course soaked when teams arrived for qualifying at 10:15am. However, due to heavy fog levels, the medical chopper was unable to get to the race track.

INDYCAR was forced to delay the session 29 minutes, dropping the green at 10:44am, allowing select pieces of the track to dry, with other sections being soaked.

Group One

In the first qualifying group, Santino Ferrucci was the fastest and untouchable. The SealMaster Honda blew right by Ryan Hunter-Reay on-track and posted a lap time 3-seconds faster than his rookie teammate Alex Palou, and over 4-seconds faster than Hunter-Reay.

In the first group, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Pagenaud and Hunter-Reay all spun during the 15-minute session. Charlie Kimball stalled his A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet during the session, causing a red flag.

Group Two

The second session was just as wacky. Right off the bat, Will Power spun attempting to race his teammate Newgarden on the exit-lap. Zach Veach spun with him. Power was unable to return to the track because he caused the red.

At the same time, Jack Harvey binned his Meyer Shank Racing Honda into a tire barrier. The car was unable to be repaired during the session.

Pato O’Ward got caught in a gravel trap when the track reopened the next time.

Marco Andretti opted to qualify on Firestone Red tires, while everyone else remained on the Firestone Wet Weather tire, despite the drying track. Andretti posted the fourth-fastest time in the second session.

When the session finally got underway without issue, Herta seized the opportunity with the better track conditions and claimed his first NTT P1 Award of the season.

Honda Indy 200 Race No. 2 Qualifying Results (PDF).

Race

Herta led 57 of the 75 laps in Saturday’s Honda Indy 200.

Herta celebrates his third IndyCar win.

Colton Herta celebrates his victory in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200. (Picture Credit: Chris Jones/INDYCAR Media)

Start

Unlike Saturday, the second race at Mid-Ohio this weekend began typically, with off-road excursions in the opening turn.

Herta forced Ferrucci into the wet grass as they left the opening turn, shooting Ferrucci back into traffic where he collided with his teammate Palou and Felix Rosenqvist, sending them into the outside tire barrier. Both young drivers were done for the day as Ferrucci was penalized.

The caution was the first in three races at Mid-Ohio.

Beached Kellett

Another full-course yellow soon flew.

On lap 15, Dalton Kellett lost control of his Chevrolet, spinning off the first turn and got stuck in the sand trap. IndyCar halted to throw a caution flag, allowing the entire field to pit prior the release of the safety car. 

Despite this, Takuma Sato and Andretti stayed out even longer. Sato led 16 laps.

Scotty Spins

A rare mistake from Scott Dixon nearly derailed his championship run on Sunday.

Dixon told NBC Sports following the race that the mistake was a “rookie mistake”. The PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda had been on black tires (the primary tire that was slower on the short run) and was feeling the pressure from those behind on the red tires.

Dixon used the Push 2 Pass button throughout the course’s opening turn, went wide, and dropped his wheels on the mud-filled curb, spinning him out.

The New Zealand driver was able to recover, finishing in 10th yet again, passing the other Ed Carpenter Racing car on the 75th circuit, being of course Rinus VeeKay.

All Andretti

For the first time in fifteen years, Michael Andretti’s team swept the podium.

Herta’s third career win was followed by Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay. RHR’s result is his first podium since the Mid-Ohio date last summer.

Honda clean swept the entire top five positions with Graham Rahal and Marcus Ericsson rounding out the final two positions.

Race Results

Simon Pagenaud rebounded on Sunday to finish sixth — the highest Team Penske car. He was immediately followed by those team cars of Power and Newgarden in seventh and eighth.

Honda Indy 200 Race No. 2 Results (PDF).

Up Next

The Harvest Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is up next, being the final doubleheader weekend of 2020 season.

The first race is scheduled for Friday, October 2nd at 3:30p EST on the USA Network.

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Adam Coon

At 17 years old and attending high school, I have spent my weekends and free time covering motorsports on my Instagram page since July 2016. From Upstate New York, I am a devoted racing fan always looking to meet more people who share the same love I do.

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