Sunday, December 16, 2018

Rossi Stops Twice to Win at Mid-Ohio


Third-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver Alexander Rossi collected his sixth podium of 2018 as he turned his start from pole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course into his fourth career victory.

The crew behind Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda went to work on pit lane only twice during the 90-lap contest while the remainder of the 24-car field made three or more pit stops.

After the bold approach of stopping only twice was abandoned by frontrunners Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon, Rossi was forced to maintain his composure and focus on the original plan. Taking care of his fuel and tires didn’t enable Rossi to set the race’s fastest lap but did lead to his second visit to victory lane of the year.

With wins at Watkins Glen International and Long Beach since his storied triumph in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, Rossi’s Mid-Ohio victory marks his second at a road course.

Despite its history of 60 Indy car wins, Rossi’s Mid-Ohio win is the first for Michael Andretti’s team at the 2.258-mile circuit.

Having completed an extra pit stop over Rossi, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Robert Wickens took the checkered flag 12.8285 seconds in arrears of his victorious rival. Wickens previously led the race as Rossi’s two-stop approach played out.

Front-row starter Will Power brought his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet home in third, finishing within two seconds of Wickens. Both drivers reached the podium for the fourth time of 2018.

Sebastien Bourdais crests Mid-Ohio hill in IndyCar race
Sebastien Bourdais crests the Turn 5 hill during his run from the back of the 2018 Honda Indy 200 grid. | Photo: Gannon Burgett / The Apex

Scott Dixon’s disappointing qualifying result — and launch from ninth on the grid — was parlayed into a top-five finish as he rounded out the group to give Honda the majority share of the top positions.

A crash in qualifying for Sebastien Bourdais set up a last-place start for the Frenchman but a stirring drive forward allowed the No. 18 Honda from Dale Coyne Racing to be scored sixth on the final results.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud plus Ohio natives Graham Rahal and Zach Veach completed the top 10.

Despite minor incidents early on including one that led to a drive-through penalty for sixth-place starter Max Chilton, the race ran caution free for the third time in 34 editions of the Honda Indy 200.

A trip to Pocono Raceway is next for IndyCar. The final superspeedway event of the year will take place Aug. 18–19.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.


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