Newgarden leads all the way at Road America

Daniel Herrero

Monday 25th June, 2018 - 5:20am


Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden has taken an all-the-way victory in IndyCar at Road America as an engine problem meant Will Power’s race was all but over before it began.

Newgarden had Ryan Hunter-Reay following in close proximity for most of the 55-lap race but the latter similarly remained second for the duration, but for pit stops.

Scott Dixon made ground in each of the first two stints of what was a three-stop race for most, to advance from eighth at the start to third at the finish and extend his series lead.

Newgarden and Power locked out the front row for Team Penske but the latter dropped like a stone when the green flag waved with the issue traced back to a broken header in the #12 Chevrolet.

It gave the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion clear passage to the first corner and Newgarden edged away to a lead of around 1.3s over Hunter-Reay in the first stint.

They pitted together on Lap 14, each switching from reds to a stint on black tyres, and such was the story of the race as they ran almost identical strategies with barely more than two seconds between until the last lap.

While Hunter-Reay initially closed up on Newgarden early in the second stint, he couldn’t get close enough to challenge.

They took their respective second pit stops after Lap 29 with the #1 Chevrolet taking scuffed reds and the #28 Andretti Autosport Honda another set of blacks, the only deviation in strategy.

Newgarden stretched the lead to two seconds by the time they pitted for the last time with 12 laps remaining, both taking new reds.

Despite Hunter-Reay gaining some ground as he hustled with push-to-pass to keep Dixon at bay, Newgarden had a comfortable run to the finish for his first win at Road America.

Dixon, the 2017 Road America race winner, picked up two positions in the first stint including that gained due to Power’s problem.

He initially stayed out a lap longer than most at the first pit stop cycle, before advancing three positions through the second cycle.

The #9 Chip Ganassi Honda was three seconds behind Hunter-Reay when he pitted on Lap 42 but was half a chance to execute a pass when Hunter-Reay rejoined the circuit a lap later.

The New Zealander couldn’t get close enough to try a move, in part when he broke into a slide at Turn 14, but picked up a solid points haul in third.

Alexander Rossi, one of Dixon’s key title rivals, finished all the way back in 16th after an early final pit stop for loose steering.

He sat fourth having just been cleared of wrongdoing regarding contact with Takuma Sato as the Japanese driver tried to pass on the outside through Turns 5 and 6.

However, the #27 Honda lost all pace and had to pit on Lap 38, at which time the Andretti Autosport crew tightened up the left-front corner.

Rossi confirmed post-race that the camber shims had fallen out of his car.

Sato finished a season-high fourth in the #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda, two positions ahead of team-mate Graham Rahal in Car #15.

Splitting them was Robert Wickens, who lost three positions when he was forced onto the dirt as Rossi made an aggressive move for third on Lap 1, a similar incident to that between Rossi and Sato.

He regained a position due to misfortune for Sebastien Bourdais and sat on the cusp of the top five thereafter in the #6 Schmidt Peterson Honda.

Seventh through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Chevrolet) despite starting 14th, Spencer Pigot (#21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet), Ed Jones (#10 Chip Ganassi Honda), and James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Honda).

Bourdais took 13th after an early pit stop for a gear control unit problem took the #18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda out of the top five.

Race 11 is the Iowa Corn 300 in a fortnight’s time (July 7-8 local time).

Race results: Road America

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Race time/Split Pit stops Status Grid pos
1 1 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 1:40:16.4165 3 Running 1
2 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F +3.3759 3 Running 3
3 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F +5.4902 3 Running 8
4 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F +14.8772 3 Running 7
5 6 Robert Wickens (R) D/H/F +23.8993 3 Running 5
6 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F +32.5513 3 Running 9
7 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F +42.1868 3 Running 14
8 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F +42.5336 3 Running 10
9 10 Ed Jones D/H/F +46.2118 3 Running 12
10 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F +47.5359 3 Running 16
11 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F +48.1468 3 Running 15
12 20 Jordan King (R) D/C/F +53.4242 3 Running 13
13 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F +1:00.3249 3 Running 6
14 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F +1:05.2583 4 Running 18
15 4 Matheus Leist (R) D/C/F +1:09.7681 3 Running 20
16 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F +1:23.4715 3 Running 4
17 59 Max Chilton D/C/F +1:24.3709 3 Running 22
18 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F +1:43.1557 4 Running 19
19 88 Gabby Chaves D/C/F +1 lap 5 Running 23
20 32 Alfonso Celis Jr (R) D/C/F +1 lap 3 Running 21
21 19 Zachary Claman DeMelo (R) D/H/F +1 lap 4 Running 17
22 26 Zach Veach (R) D/H/F +1 lap 5 Running 11
23 12 Will Power D/C/F +53 laps 1 Mechanical 2

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott Dixon 393
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 348
3 Alexander Rossi 348
4 Josef Newgarden 343
5 Will Power 328
6 Graham Rahal 278
7 Robert Wickens 274
8 Simon Pagenaud 255
9 Sebastien Bourdais 235
10 Marco Andretti 232
11 James Hinchcliffe 229
12 Ed Jones 205
13 Takuma Sato 201
14 Tony Kanaan 173
15 Spencer Pigot 171
16 Zach Veach 155
17 Charlie Kimball 151
18 Gabby Chaves 149
19 Matheus Leist 148
20 Max Chilton 134
21 Ed Carpenter 128
22 Zachary Claman DeMelo 94
23 Jordan King 88
24 Carlos Munoz 53
25 Jack Harvey 53
26 Kyle Kaiser 45
27 Helio Castroneves 40
28 Rene Binder 39
29 JR Hildebrand 38
30 Stefan Wilson 31
31 Oriol Servia 27
32 Santino Ferrucci 18
33 Conor Daly 18
34 Danica Patrick 13
35 Jay Howard 12
36 Alfonso Celis Jnr 10
37 Sage Karam 10
38 James Davison 10
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