Newgarden takes IndyCar race in Ohio

Frederick Owens
August 2, 2017

The Canadian driver, who pitted just before a caution period in Toronto to leap into a third-place finish, had to settle for a middle-of-the-pack 11th at Mid-Ohio. Power resigned himself to finish second from there, his third runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio.

In years past here, Newgarden got knocked out of contention through no fault of his own - by his crew leaving an air hose in the pit box and an opponent running into him on pit road. I don't think we ever had the balance right where we wanted it.

Castroneves also dropped a few spots in the race from fifth to seventh but maintains second place in the standings now seven points behind Newgarden.

Because he's close to home, there is more expected of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver, both on the course and away from it. Overall, we did a great job and the guys had a good strategy. Instead of racing for a win - where Dixon has tasted victory five times in his celebrated career - as well as trying to protect his Verizon IndyCar Series points lead, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver was reduced to salvaging what he could from a challenging afternoon.

Dixon has slipped to third, eight points behind Newgarden with four races left in the season.

"I was wondering where Dixon was, " Newgarden said. Dixon had held the points lead entering Sunday's race. Oliver Askew (Cape Motorsports) finished fourth and saw his points lead dwindle to 13 over VeeKay with one race remaining at Watkins Glen International on September 3. Power and Simon Pagenaud struggled in their first seasons with the team.

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The 2014 champion battled with Rahal throughout the majority of the race after losing the lead, with Rahal initially performing the undercut on the Penske racer after the first round of pit-stops. "(We) kind of weren't on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying.

"Helio Castroneves, a two-time Mid-Ohio victor (2000, 2001), qualified fifth in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:04.8485, 125.351 mph). I wouldn't expect anything less".

"We were either going to pass him on track in a straight-up pass or we were going to pass him in a pit cycle, that was our plan", Newgarden said after the race. You've got to start at the front here; it's really, really hard to pass, so (winning pole is) giving us the best chance to win tomorrow. We've got to make the most of it.

The series shifts to oval racing for the next two events. Then it's on to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois, for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline on August 26 (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).

"We'll keep digging here", Dixon said. "It was one to forget".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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