LEXINGTON, OH – Qualifying and track position are normally the key to success in the NTT IndyCar Series these days. The last three Mid-Ohio races were won from the front row. Nine of the 12 races run in 2019 have been won from a driver that came from the first 2 Rows.
On Sunday, Chip Ganassi Racing showed that it doesn’t matter where they start – they can win with outsmarting everyone else.
Both CGR drivers had two completely different race strategies. One went with a two-stop strategy, the other a three stopper. Despite that, for the first time in over four years, Ganassi goes 1-2 in an Indy Car race and they did so in just 0.0934-seconds a part from one another.
Scott Dixon came from eighth place in his No. 9 Honda but his strategy on a two stopper paid off in giving him his sixth career victory on the 2.258-mile road course. It was also his 46th career Indy Car win as he’s now only six shy of tying Mario Andretti for second all-time.
The win was also Dixon’s 91st career top two finish which ranks him first among all drivers in the history of the sport.
Dixon, took over the lead on Lap 67 when his teammate Felix Rosenqvist hit pit lane for his final time one lap prior and would never look back en route to his first win at Mid-Ohio since 2014.
Rosenqvist, would come out of the pits on his final stop in second and cruise there for his best career Indy Car finish in his No. 10 Honda. It was the first time teammates have finished 1-2 in the series since 2017 when Team Penske actually went 1-2-3 in the season finale that season in Sonoma. In fact, the last seven times an organization went 1-2 was all Penske as all came since 2016. The last non Penske team to go 1-2 was ECR in 2015 at Toronto.
Ganassi, now has 20 1-2 finishes in Indy Car competition, 13 of those went from 2006 through 2013.
Rosenqvist, started off on what appeared to be a two stop strategy too as he started sixth but started off on Firestone Blacks. When everyone else in front of him either had on Firestone Reds or had pit already for a three stop strategy, the rookie took the lead on Lap 25 when he blew by Will Power. He looked well in control from there as he held a wide gap on everyone else on the two stop strategy but his crew brought him down pit road early on the next stint saying that their plan was a three stopper all along.
Still, he had such a wide lead, he came out ahead of everyone on the three stop strategy and would earn his first career Indy Car podium and give Ganassi a 1-2 despite showing two different strategies.
Dixon, went to the Firestone alternates on his final stint but did so because he had such a wide gap. He also had to save fuel too as he went 31 laps to the end without a stop. That allowed Rosenqvist to close a 10+ second gap to nearly pass Dixon on the final lap for the win. The two made contact in the keyhole but both continued on for a thrilling ending.
The win also allows Dixon to take a big deficit out of his gap to Josef Newgarden as he went from 98 points out of the championship lead to 62 out.
Ryan Hunter-Reay earned his third straight top 10 finish at Mid-Ohio but his first podium since 2011. It was a much needed podium as he entered this weekend in a rough patch. The last three finishes for him were – 11th, 16th and 17th respectively. But, the Andretti Autosport driver got his first podium since COTA (March 24) and his first top five since Texas. It was Hunter-Reay’s 46th career podium and 68th career top five.
But, where Hunter-Reay won this for his team though is that he held the Penske duo off. Newgarden, thought that he was going to finish fourth but he made a costly error when he tried to pass Hunter-Reay in the key hole on the final lap too. He’d spin as a result and go from finishing fourth to 14th and lose a ton of points in the process.
Will Power would finish fourth in his No. 12 Chevrolet for his fourth straight top four finish at Mid-Ohio while Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five in his No. 27 Honda.
Because of Newgarden’s spin, Rossi went from 34 points down on the last lap to 16.
The race went caution free for the second straight year and for the second time this season.
Honda Indy 200 Results
10 Rosenqvist R
88 Herta R
19 Ferrucci R
2 Newgarden OUT
98 Andretti -1
59 Chilton -1
31 Enerson -1
4 Leist -1
30 Sato -1
14 Kanaan -1
26 Veach -1
5 Hinchcliffe -3
7 Ericsson R OUT