Pagenaud Wins at Mid-Ohio

Photo Credit: IndyCar

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud has won the 2016 Honda Indy 200 by a 4.1620-second margin of over teammate Will Power after 90 laps around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile natural terrain Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Pagenaud started the race from the pole position. Pagenaud has extended his championship points lead to 58 points over the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Power.

The win is Pagenaud’s 8th career Verizon IndyCar Series win, 1st career victory at Mid-Ohio, and his 4th win of the season 4th of the season. Teammate Will Power, who finished in 2nd, finished in the top 2 for the 5th consecutive race, just as Pagenaud did in the 1st 5 races of this 2016 season.

Drivers of the Chevrolet-powered cars took the top 2 spots, while drivers of the Honda-powered cars showed some strides in grabbing 3rd place through 6th place with Carlos Munoz, last year’s winner Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe, and Conor Daly, respectively. Scott Dixon, the 5-time winner of the event, finished in last place after crashing on lap 15.

The race appeared to be in Mikhail Aleshin’s hands, but a caution flag flew on lap 61 when Jack Hawksworth crashed, causing the field to stack up behind Aleshin, who had extended a lead of over 10 seconds over Will Power and Simon Pagenaud. But, exiting his pit box, Aleshin hit the car of Josef Newgarden, who was pulling into his pit stall 2 stalls ahead of Aleshin’s this caused Aleshin not only to lose the lead, but to have to pit again to replace the front wing of his Honda-powered race car. He ended up finishing in 17th place.

The race featured a total of 7 lead changes among 5 different drivers. Aleshin led the most laps with 33 laps led after a dominant performance that unfortunately did not end up the way most IndyCar fans had envisioned.

The race featured a total of 2 cautions. The 1st caution came out on lap 15 of the race when Scott Dixon spun out going for a pass on Helio Castroneves in turn 2, resulting in Dixon breaking his front left suspension. The 2nd caution came out on lap 61 of the race, when Jack Hawksworth lost control of his car going into turn 1 and went head first into the tire barrier. It was this 2nd caution that changed the complexion of the race turned what was Aleshin’s race to lose into a disaster.

With just a couple of laps to go, the 5th and 6th place running cars of Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais were involved in a small collision that sent both cars off of the track in turn 4. That small crash would bring out only a local yellow, as Bourdais was able to exit his car safely and settle for a 20th place finish, while Sato was able to get back out onto the track and still come home in 9th place.

The Verizon IndyCar Series’ next race will be the ABC Supply 500, which will be the 13th of 16 of the season and will be held on Sunday, August 21st at 3:36 PM ET at the 3-turn, 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway oval in Long Pong, Pennsylvania. Ryan Hunter-Reay was the winner of the 2015 ABC Supply 500.  The race broadcast will be on NBC Sports Network and will begin at 3:00 PM ET.

Race ranking out of races I’ve watched: 40/104

-Asher Fair