New­gar­den dom­i­nates at Mid-Ohio for 2nd straight IndyCar win

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - — AP

Josef New­gar­den knew he had a good car and didn’t waste time show­ing it. New­gar­den dom­i­nated at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to win the Honda Indy 200 on Sun­day for his sec­ond straight IndyCar vic­tory. He moved from fourth to first in the se­ries points stand­ings, seven points ahead of He­lio Cas­tron­eves.

New­gar­den led 73 of the 90 laps on the 2.258-mile course to fin­ish 5.156 sec­onds ahead of Team Penske team­mate and pole-sit­ter Will Power. He also won at Toronto on July 16 and has six ca­reer wins, three this sea­son.

“We had an awe­some race. It’s what we needed,” New­gar­den said. “This was a good day for Team Penske.” New­gar­den showed his in­ten­tions early when he made an inside pass on Power on the 14th lap. Lo­cal fa­vorite Graham 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.

“I felt like we were a lit­tle bit stronger (than Will) at the start,” New­gar­den said. “Will strug­gled a lit­tle bit more than me. I didn’t want to wait un­til the pits. I felt it was time. He gave me race room, which a good team­mate does.”

By lap 50, the Ten­nessee na­tive had ex­tended his lead over Power to 6.5 sec­onds. “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.”

Ra­hal couldn’t get around last-place Car­los Munoz for more than a dozen laps and lost con­tact with Power. The 2015 win­ner fin­ished third for Ra­hal Let­ter­man rac­ing. Last year’s cham­pion, Si­mon Pa­ge­naud (Team Penske), was fourth. The lone cau­tion came in lap 67 when Ed Jones spun out in turn 9. On the re­set on lap 70, rookie Esta­ban Gutier­rez, who fin­ished 20th, got be­tween New­gar­den and Power and cre­ated havoc.

“I thought Gutier­rez for a sec­ond was go­ing to run into me on turn 4,” New­gar­den said. Five-time win­ner Scott Dixon, who came in as the se­ries leader, ra­dioed around lap 40 that some­thing was bro­ken and strug­gled to a ninth­place fin­ish for Chip Ganassi Rac­ing. “It felt like some­thing broke on the car and we made some ma­jor front wing ad­just­ments in the race,” Dixon said. “We had a prob­lem on the left rear on pit lane and that took some time as well.” He is third in the se­ries stand­ings, eight points back.

New­gar­den wants to put the ham­mer down on the se­ries cham­pi­onship with four races. “We want to build the gap. We need to main­tain cer­tainly,” he said.

Dur­ing Sun­day morn­ing’s prac­tice ses­sion, Spencer Pigot of Ed Car­pen­ter Rac­ing had the rear of his chas­sis get loose off the carousel into the front straight­away and crashed straight into the hard bar­rier near the fin­ish line. Start­ing 17th, he drove team­mate JR Hilde­brand’s oval car and fin­ished 19th.


Ra­hal on the driv­ing of Gutier­rez and Munoz: “We need to have a closed-door talk and deal with it.” Po­cono Race­way, Aug. 20. Will Power is the de­fend­ing cham­pion.


LONG POND: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Caramel Toy­ota, poses with the tro­phy in vic­tory lane af­ter win­ning dur­ing the Mon­ster En­ergy NASCAR Cup Se­ries Over­ton’s 400 at Po­cono Race­way on Sun­day in Long Pond, Penn­syl­va­nia.

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