Hometown hero Graham Rahal has scorched to the finest win of his career by claiming the Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Rahal haired away to a 3.4s win after a late race caution was thrown with 10 of the 90 laps remaining.
After being challenged for the lead under braking on the restart with seven to go by Justin Wilson, Rahal quickly burst clear to a sizeable lead.
Wilson was left in his wake to finish second ahead of Penske’s Simon Pagenaud with Mid-Ohio specialist Scott Dixon in fourth.
The victory has seen Rahal reduce a 42-point deficit to Juan Montoya to just nine points after the Mid-Ohio native collected a bonus point for leading the most laps.
“Honestly other than the Indy 500 this is the biggest race of the year for me,” Rahal said after repeating what his dad Bobby Rahal did in 1985 and 1986.
“The hometown crowd was amazing and I appreciate the support so much.
“This is unreal for me.”
Montoya, who had been in a powerful position mid-race, scavenged a couple of places on the restart to finish 11th with his Team Penske stablemates Will Power in 14th and Helio Castroneves in 15th.
Earlier Ganassi’s Sage Karam controversially spun on his own which brought out a yellow and drew the ire of Montoya who was caught redhanded by the caution as he was about to pit.
“And, you know, it’s kind of weird that all the Ganassi cars pitted and Sage spins. So it is what it is,” Montoya said.
“I don’t know if it was on purpose or not but I heard the spin was pretty dodgy.
“Karma is a bitch so we’ll see.”
The incident is now the centre of a post-race review by IndyCar.
Ryan Briscoe was 18th as the series prepares for the penultimate round at Pocono on August 23.
VIDEO: Race Highlights
See below for full results
|Pos.||Car #||Driver||Manufacturer||Laps||Running / Reason Out|
|11||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||90||Running|
|12||98||Gabby Chaves (R)||Honda||90||Running|
|19||4||Stefano Coletti (R)||Chevrolet||90||Running|
|20||18||Rodolfo Gonzalez (R)||Honda||90||Running|
|21||20||Luca Filippi||Chevrolet||89||Off Course|
|22||8||Sage Karam (R)||Chevrolet||89||Running|
Full series standings