Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden driving the No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet has taken the lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship by seven points from team mate Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet following his victory in Mid-Ohio on Sunday.
The race win was Newgarden’s second in a row following his victory last time out at the Honda Indy Toronto. It was also the Tennessee natives third win of the season following his victory at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the start of the season.
Speaking following the race, Newgarden commented by saying:
I feel like no one can take anything away from this win. “With this team on the (No.) 2 car side, I feel like we really did a great job today. There was no luck involved in that. We went out and won the race.
Newgarden has really hit the ground running with his new team and is the first driver this season to win three Verizon IndyCar Series races.
He went on to say:
We’ve been close before here. “I feel like we’ve always found speed. … It’s just nice to get something at a track I haven’t had a previous history of winning the race. That was nice.
Newgarden went on to thank his No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish crew saying:
I’ve got an amazing crew. When they give me a car like this, I don’t want to say it’s easy, but it’s easier at least. I think we’ve been hitting on all cylinders, no pun intended. But these guys were awesome this weekend, had good stops. It was a really fast car. Reds (Firestone alternate tires), blacks (Firestone primary tires), it didn’t matter, the car was fast, so just tried to do my job. I think everyone’s going to want to drive this PPG car. I’m pretty sure it was lucky for (Simon) Pagenaud last year, think it’s lucky for us, so we’re probably going to be fighting over this car paint.” (About taking championship lead): “That’s great. We’ve just got to keep it up. No mistakes. If we don’t have any mistakes, we’ve got plenty enough to win this championship, so we’re going to keep giving what we got for the last four races.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet who started the race from pole position finished the race in second place giving Roger Penske a 1-2 finish and speaking following the race the Australian commented by saying:
I know we started on the pole and finished second, and that could be viewed as coming up short in some way, “but it was a very good finish for the Verizon Chevrolet. We really weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying.
“So second (place), for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today. We’ve had too many seconds in this place, though.
Reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 Menards Chevrolet who went into the event as the defending Mid-Ohio race winner having taken victory here last year in the No.22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet.
Pagenaud started the race from seventh place and finished the event in fourth place just behind Graham Rahal.
Speaking following the race, the Frenchman commented by saying:
The Menards Chevy was good all weekend. I do wish that we could have qualified a little better just to decrease the number of cars to get around. It was kind of a neutral day in the championship but that’s alright. We’re right there and it will come down to Sonoma. Congratulations to Josef (Newgarden). They’re really on a roll right now.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet went into the race with a three point deficit in the championship to leader Scott Dixon, the Brazilian started the race from fifth place and finished the event in seventh.
Castroneves finished the race ahead of Dixon and has now lost ground to his team mate Josef Newgarden in the race for the championship with just four races remaining.
Speaking following the race, Castroneves said:
That was a tough race. These cars are so physical to drive. We only had the one caution that didn’t really affect anyone, I don’t think. On that restart, I had some sort of glitch that took away a bunch of power for a couple of seconds and two cars went around me like I was standing still. That’s unfortunate. But it was a decent day in points for the Hitachi Chevrolet team. A super day for Josef (Newgarden). Congratulations to that group. He leapfrogged us, but we’re still in second. We head to a couple of ovals now which could really mix things up. It’s going to be a battle. That’s for sure.