IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Herta leads Andretti Autosport 1-2-3 in Race 2

Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay scored the first Andretti Autosport-Honda 1-2-3 since 2005, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon made a rare error, spinning to the back of the field and ceded more points to Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

Polesitter Colton Herta made a strong start in the Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda but Santino Ferrucci was his equal and as he drew alongside turning into Turn 4 he was pushed wide onto the grass. As he rejoined the asphalt, he collected Dale Coyne Racing teammate Alex Palou who in turn smacked into Felix Rosenqvist. Palou was able to limp to the pits but with a bent wishbone, while Rosenqvist was out on the spot.

Ferrucci rejoined sixth but the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan pulled into the pits for a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

The restart saw Herta lead ahead of Dixon, the fast-starting Andretti Autosport cars of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi, with Simon Pagenaud fifth ahead of Graham Rahal. Marcus Ericsson was up to seventh from 15th on the grid, Josef Newgarden ran eighth ahead of Rinus VeeKay and Zach Veach. Following the restart, Power – up from 17th – demoted Veach to 10th. Ericsson then passed Rahal down the straight to Turn 2, and while Rahal tried to retaliate at Turn 4, the Ganassi driver held firm.

Newgarden, who like Power had started on fresh hard-compound Firestones, was finding himself vulnerable to VeeKay but defended well with the aid of push-to-pass.

After a dozen laps, Herta was leading Dixon by just one second, with Hunter-Reay and Rossi two seconds behind, and Pagenaud a further here seconds in arrears, chased closely by Ericsson and Rahal.

Dalton Kellett spun his AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy at Turn 1 on Lap 15 prompting everyone to duck into the pits, but IndyCar left the pits open and the green flags out just long enough to allow everyone to pit before throwing the full-course caution. It would mean the front runners would now be obliged to run long second stints. Two cars stayed out, however – Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan and Marco Andretti in the Andretti Herta Autosport Honda. Behind, them Herta remained ahead of Dixon but now both were on hard-compound ‘black’ Firestones, Hunter-Reay, Rossi, Pagenaud (black), Ericsson (black), but the Penske #1 crew had jumped Newgarden ahead of Rahal, and Power’s crew had gotten him ahead of VeeKay who was now also on blacks.

Hunter-Reay attempted to pass Dixon around the outside into Turn 4, but Dixon braked late and edged Hunter-Reay wide, allowing Rossi through, and next time by Rossi demoted the Ganassi driver by driving up the inside at Turn 4. Further back, Rahal had re-passed Newgarden for ninth, then dived past Ericsson for seventh, and then drove past Pagenaud at Turn 4 for sixth.

But the big moment of the race had occurred just moments before, with Dixon spinning out of Turn 1 after hitting the push-to-pass boost. The #9 dropped to the back of the field (20th at that stage).

Herta passed off-strategy teammate Marco Andretti into Turn 4 on Lap 26, and soon Rossi was aiming to do the same. He was grateful, therefore, that Andretti dropped it by himself at Turn 1 on Lap 29, rejoining at the back.

Sato finally stopped on Lap 32 after some strong laps on low fuel.

That left Herta with a 1sec lead over Rossi who was in turn 1sec ahead of Hunter-Reay who had a 1sec advantage over Rahal. Pagenaud ran fifth ahead of Ericsson, Newgarden, Power, VeeKay and Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton.

At Lap 45, when the final pit window in this 75-lap race opened, Rossi had slipped 1.9sec behind Herta and Hunter-Reay was all over him. Rossi then pulled into the pits for fresh hard-compound tires. Herta and Hunter-Reay pulled in next timeby, as did Pagenaud and O’Ward, Askew and VeeKay. On the pitstop shuffle, Rossi remained ahead of Hunter-Reay, and Rahal emerged just behind. He had a look on the outside down to Turn 4, but was obliged to fall in behind.

As Andretti Autosport ran 1-2-3 – Herta on reds, Rossi and Hunter-Reay on primaries – Penske ran 7-8-9, with Power now ahead of Newgarden, but still behind Pagenaud. All three of the Penskes were on alternate compound tires, helping Pagenaud keep the pressure on primary-tired Ericsson in sixth who in turn was just 1.7sec behind Rahal whose pace had drifted on primaries.

Dixon finally made his final pitstop on Lap 58, exchanging his tired reds for fresh blacks. He emerged in 13th.

In the final 20 laps, Rossi on his harder tires was chipping away at Herta, getting the gap down to 1.6sec with 15 laps to go while at the same time, Rossi had pulled a 2sec margin over Hunter-Reay. However, Rossi was having to also bear in mind he had stopped a lap earlier and had less fuel to play with. On Lap 65, he had fallen 2sec behind, then it was back to 1.5sec with five laps to go as Herta was taking care of his Firestone reds.

Dixon, having passed Chilton and Harvey, was tucked behind VeeKay at this stage, looking to make a pass on the Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy for 10th and he made it happen on the final lap.

Herta finally crossed the finish line 1.38sec ahead of Rossi who had a 1.1sec margin on Hunter-Reay. It was not only the first Andretti Autosport win of 2020, and Herta’s third victory, but the team’s first 1-2-3 finish in 15 years.

Rahal had preserved his tires well enough to close up to just 0.6sec behind Hunter-Reay for a second fourth place in two days, almost 7sec ahead of Ericsson.

The Swedish sophomore finished ahead of a Penske 6-7-8, but it was perhaps surprising given Dixon’s progress in the closing stages, Penske didn’t oblige Pagenaud and Power to move over for its primary championship contender, Newgarden.

Pato O’Ward rolled home ninth ahead of Dixon.

1 Colton HertaAndretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport75 1:34’17.396  
2 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport75 1:34’18.779 1.382
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport75 1:34’19.893 2.496
4 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing75 1:34’20.482 3.085
5 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing75 1:34’27.314 9.917
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske75 1:34’31.588 14.191
7 Will Power Team Penske75 1:34’32.726 15.329
8 Josef Newgarden Team Penske75 1:34’34.650 17.253
9 Patricio O’WardArrow McLaren SP75 1:34’40.344 22.947
10 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing75  
11 Rinus van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing75 1:34’49.114 31.718
12 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing75 1:34’54.149 36.752
13 Max Chilton Carlin75 1:34’55.048 37.652
14 Santino FerrucciDale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan75 1:35’03.980 46.583
15 Oliver AskewArrow McLaren SP75 1:35’04.763 47.366
16 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing75 1:35’18.102 1’00.705
17 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport75 1:35’20.068 1’02.671
18 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing75 1:35’22.653 1’05.257
19 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises75 1:35’23.605 1’06.208
20 Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani74 1:34’45.113 1 Lap
21 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises71 1:34’37.073 4 Laps
22 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing4 52’52.788 71 Laps
23 Alex PalouDale Coyne Racing with Team Goh2 4’22.690 73 Laps
View full results


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