(LEXINGTON, OH) In order to have a shot at claiming his second Verizon IndyCar Series’ victory of the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, driver Alexander Rossi and his Andretti Autosport brain trust would have to concoct a well-calculated strategy.
A little bit of good fortune doesn’t hurt as well.
At the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio road course event held Sunday, the pole sitter was the only entrant to pit twice in the 90-lap feature, whereas everyone else needed three on the day.
The gamble paid off as the outstanding fuel mileage achieved with the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda that sported Firestone tires resulted in a 12.82 second victory over runner-up Robert Wickens (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) in a race that averaged 116.9 m.p.h.
Rossi’s second checkered flag of the season, and fourth overall in IndyCar, netted Andretti Autosport their sixtieth win.
“The NAPA Andretti team was so on it today,” said Rossi afterwards.” They gave me an amazing race car, and this one’s for them. It was great strategy all day. We knew we could two-stop it if we committed early, and that’s what we did.”
Rossi, who also reached the winner’s circle in Long Beach in mid-April, led 66 laps along the 13-turn, 2.248-mile permanent course in a race that featured no cautions.
Wickens continued his remarkable breakthrough rookie campaign in the No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda with the runner-up placement on the podium, which equaled his finish at IMS earlier this season, and his seventh Top 5 finish of 2018.
Veteran Will Power (Team Penske) claimed his fifth podium of the year with a third place result from the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet that was recorded within two seconds of Wickens crossing the finish line.
“Everyone else is so good in this series that you just have to have everything perfect,” Power said of the IndyCar parity. “It’s just a series full of really good drivers now and no one makes mistakes and it just came down to strategy.”
Starting ninth, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) finished the No. 5 PNC Bank CGR Honda fifth and maintained his lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ points standings (494) with four races left in the 17 round docket.
Sunday’s Mid-Ohio victory helped Rossi leapfrog over defending series champ Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) into second place overall (448). Newgarden’s fourth place finish resulted in him falling to third, trailing Rossi by fourteen points (434).
The hard charge of the day came from Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vassar/Sullivan) who started last in the field of 24 and finished with a strong sixth-place showing, just under one second behind Dixon.
The series takes a couple of weeks off before returning to the oval at Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500 on Sunday, August 19.
For more information on the Verizon IndyCar Series, go to their official website.
HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO RESULTS
PLACE DRIVER START LAPS
1) Alexander Rossi 1 90
2) Robert Wickens (R) 5 90
3) Will Power 2 90
4) Josef Newgarden 4 90
5) Scott Dixon 9 90
6) Sebastien Bourdais 24 90
7) Ryan Hunter-Reay 3 90
8) Simon Pagenaud 17 90
9) Graham Rahal 7 90
10) Zach Veach (R) 12 90
Time of Race: 1:44:15 Avg. Speed: 116.957 mph
Lead Changes: 5 Cautions: 0
VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES TOP FIVE
RANK DRIVER POINTS
1) Scott Dixon 494
2) Alexander Rossi 448
3) Josef Newgarden 434
4) Will Power 407
5) Ryan Hunter-Reay 390
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, August 25 for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Leading up to the event, Arch City Media will be providing weekly coverage of the series to keep local open-wheeled racing fans informed and updated.