A sixth win at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for NTT IndyCar Series veteran Scott Dixon became a reality when the Chip Ganassi Racing leader marched from eighth on the grid to the front of the field where he battled his rookie teammate when finalizing his two-stop strategy.
- Results: 2019 Honda Indy 200
Ganassi’s rookie pilot Felix Rosenqvist passed pole sitter Will Power for the race lead as the red-sidewalled alternate Firestone tires fitted to the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet faded and were overcome by Rosenqvist’s black-sidewalled primaries.
Rosenqvist led the contingent of drivers aiming to visit pit lane just twice during the 90-lap event before making a surprisingly early second stop on Lap 44. Staying out until about Lap 60 would’ve kept the Swede’s two-stop effort alive but Rosenqvist remained in contention as his teammate Dixon, somewhat conveniently, slotted into the lead.
The second of Dixon’s two pit lane visits at the classic Ohio road course came on Lap 59, at which point Rosenqvist assumed control of the race. Once final stops were complete, Dixon and Rosenqvist filled the top two spots on the running order but were split by several cars on track. With Dixon on degrading reds and Rosenqvist on fresher blacks, the rookie picked off the cars between he and his successful teammate one by one, eventually bringing his Clover-branded Honda to within a few car lengths of Dixon and the PNC Bank machine.
The Ganassi duo made contact in the Turn 2 keyhole moments after speeding under the white flag and moments before championship leader Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay came together, leaving the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet of Newgarden stranded off track and causing him to drop from fourth to 14th in the final results.
Rosenqvist kept Dixon close and ran him down exiting the carousel section and onto the frontstretch for the final time, pulling out of the draft before the checkered flag but coming 0.0934 seconds shy of making his first IndyCar podium also his first win in North America’s premier open-wheel championship.
Dixon’s triumph marks the Ganassi team’s 108th Indy car win, breaking a tie for second most all time with Newman/Haas Racing. With Newgarden losing so many points, Dixon will head to the final superspeedway race of 2019 at Pocono Raceway within 62 points of the championship lead.
The fraction of a second between Dixon and Rosenqvist at the end became the third-smallest margin of victory at a road course in Indy car history with the 1997 and 1986 Portland International Raceway events coming down to an even more minimal margin.
The day’s top Andretti Autosport pilot Hunter-Reay emerged unscathed from his run-in with the points leader and finalized his first podium finish since March’s INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of The Americas.
Power’s first pole since he qualified first at St. Petersburg and COTA to start the year translated to a fourth-place finish, making the Australian the top Chevrolet driver — in the Honda-sponsored event — and also Team Penske’s best finisher.
Like underdog Dixon, Alexander Rossi benefited greatly from Newgarden’s final-lap disaster as he finished sixth and pulled within 16 markers of Newgarden’s total.
Honda did secure the advantage in the top 10 as Simon Pagenaud, Spencer Pigot, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey filled the group with seven Hondas to three Chevrolets.
The race ran caution free and was competitive throughout, highlighted by the top 13 coming home on the lead lap.
IndyCar’s 2019 visit to Mid-Ohio ends a trio of consecutive weekends at Toronto, Iowa and Ohio and the follow-up at Pocono on Aug. 18 will begin another trio that will send the top open-wheel drivers in North America also to St. Louis and Portland.