Archie Griffin the starter at Mid-Ohio, Rahal 3rd but no touching Newgarden
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 and 58 ahead of 6th place Graham Rahal.
Team Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing fields only one car while competing against three teams with four cars including the Penske's, Andretti's and Chip Ganassi Racing.
“It was a good run and the Steak ‘n Shake boys did a good job in the pits. The strategy was fine. Our car had great pace today we just could never quite get in clear air but I’m really proud of everyone on the Steak ‘n Shake team. Obviously to be the only team in the top five other than a Penske speaks volumes to the quality of people we have in this organization. We’re going to keep our heads down, keep working hard. It was another good day for our United Rentals Turns for Troops program.
" We raised a lot of money to help the veterans today. We’ll be back strong in Pocono. (On attempt to pass second place Power:) I broke as late as I could and he obviously broke late too and locked up, slid across my bow. Luckily I saw him or that could have easily been both of us out, gone. I will talk to him about that later but overall it was hard racing today.
(On battle against four-car teams:) "It’s hard work. Our guys are working very hard, and, in many ways, out working them. We just have to out drive them as best we can too. We were hanging on today; it was a lot of work out there. It was a good, solid day. Hats off to all of my guys because they work very hard back in the shop. We’re a 20 person team up against a 400 person team at Team Penske so quality over quantity. They’ve got great quality and they’ve got quantity. We’ve just got a lot of quality.”
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."