Road America plays host to the Verizon IndyCar Series as the second half of the season heats up. Helio Castroneves starts on pole along with his Team Penske teammates rounding out the top 4.
Castroneves led the field to green with his teammate Simon Pagenaud falling back to sixth due to starting on the Firestone black primary tires. Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal both pounced on the Penske quartet with Dixon getting up to third and Rahal attack Will Power.
Rahal would have to give up a position to Power as a penalty for blocking. Spencer Pigot and Ryan Hunter-Reay battled on the first lap with the two making contact. No damage came from the contact.
Marco Andretti with his best starting position of the year challenged Max Chilton and James Hinchcliffe started to fall down the order on lap 2. Eventually, Andretti would end up in thirteenth. Max Chilton battled Rahal for sixth getting pass the No. 15.
Three and four stop strategies were on the menu for the race with the Alexander Rossi and JR Hildebrand being the first to pit on the four stop. Graham Rahal would also pit the following lap from seventh. Marco Andretti reported a stuck throttle on lap 9 before running wide and going off track. No caution would come out due to Andretti rejoining the track quickly with no damage or debris.
Carlos Munoz would come in on lap 11 being the first to pit on the three-stop strategy. The leaders followed in the following laps with Josef Newgarden coming out on top through the pit cycle only to be passed by Castroneves coming out of the first turn. Adding to Marco Andretti’s nightmare race would be a pit road speeding penalty due to his speed limiter not working.
Alexander Rossi and Will Power battled for the third spot with Rossi gaining the spot due to Power getting another blocking penalty. Rossi set his sights to Scott Dixon before taking his second’s pit stop of four.
Newgarden and Dixon both pit on lap 29 with Dixon jumping Castroneves through the pit cycle. A full course yellow would gather field back up when Takuma Sato spun on the back straight. Sato would continue with no damage but would lose a lap.
The green waved on lap 31 with Newgarden leading but Dixon would be right behind. Will Power and James Hinchcliffe would make contact coming out of turn 2 breaking Hinchliffe’s steering rack. Power would continue with no damage but Hinchliffe’s hopes for a good result disappeared.
A huge battle for seventeenth erupted between Mikhail Aleshin, JR Hildebrand, and Esteban Gutierrez. Charlie Kimball proved Ganassi Racing’s pace by battling with and passing Will Power on lap 32.
Final stops would begin on lap 42 with Castroneves being the first of the leaders to come in due to a mistake in strategy. Newgarden and Dixon pit the next lap with Newgarden battling Castroneves coming out of the pits. Aleshin made a move on Rahal but would run off, ending his assault on the No. 15.
Lap 44 saw Kimball and Rossi pit for the last time. Coming out of the pits Rossi battled Tony Kanaan. Before hitting the back straight Kanaan ran into the back Rossi giving Kanaan wing damage. Kanaan with wing damage would fly into the wall at 170+ mph bringing out a full course caution.
The green flew with 8 laps to and Dixon leading Newgarden. Rossi would run off in Canada corner falling to thirteenth place. Chilton and Aleshin battled for tenth in the closing laps with Chilton getting the better of the Russian.
Ryan Hunter-Reay would end up with wing damage with 3 laps to go with Ed Jones and Rahal overtaking the Andretti driver. Hunter-Reay’s bad luck would continue ending up in the eleventh position.
Dixon kept Newgarden at bay with the two having identical push to pass time left. Newgarden closed but with no luck, Dixon would hold off the Penske driver winning his 41st career win.
Ed Jones continued to impress coming in seventh. Ganassi drivers Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton finished sixth and ninth proving Ganassi’s pace as the quickest Honda team. Team Penske ended the race rounding out the remaining top 5 positions.
Image Credit – www.indycar.com – Chris Owens