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Gateway IndyCar: Newgarden wins, Malukas stars after rain delay

From his record matching 67th pole position, Will Power took his Team Penske-Chevrolet into the lead at the start ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Marcus Ericsson, while Scott McLaughlin swept around the outside of Penske teammate Josef Newgarden to claim third.

Behind them, Alex Palou (Ganassi) fell back behind Takuma Sato of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR and Devlin DeFrancesco of Andretti Autosport-Honda, while Scott Dixon lost fifth to Pato O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet into Turn 1 on Lap 3.

The man on the move was O’Ward’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who took advantage of the fact that he had practiced on the high line the night before and climbed to 13th from 26th by Lap 3!

The top seven ran around 0.9sec apart in the first 20 laps, with DeFrancesco 1.5sec back in eighth, ahead of Palou, Alexander Rossi (Andretti), David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD) and Colton Herta (Andretti).

By Lap 30, Power was having to protect his tires while running in the wake of the last-running car, Jimmie Johnson’s Ganassi #48, and keeping an eye on his mirrors for Ericsson’s Ganassi car behind him. With rain potentially foreshortening the race, the teams and drivers were clearly running to a fuel number, trying to stretch the first and second stints, content to lap at around 165mph, some 8mph off Power’s fastest lap.

Palou passed DeFrancesco for eighth on Lap 45, just as Power got around Johnson at last, despite Johnson attempting to come back at him. Just before Lap 50, O’Ward climbed to fourth with a pass on Newgarden.

Once ahead of Johnson and then Ed Carpenter, Power started to pull away from Ericsson, the gap out to 2.3sec by Lap 54, and the gaps between the train of top 10 runners started getting split apart by traffic. Dixon, for example, was over five seconds behind Newgarden before he hit pitlane on Lap 57. Eager not to be caught out by a yellow, Penske pitted all three of its drivers, and AMSP pulled in O’Ward, and Coyne pitted Malukas. Ericsson and Palou went only a lap longer.

That left Rosenqvist out front for a lap, but once he and Grosjean pitted, Power was back in the lead but now ahead of McLaughlin, with Ericsson down in third. That very swiftly became fourth, because Ericsson lost a little momentum behind a backmarker and O’Ward was able to send it around the outside of them to claim third place. Thus the order was now Power, McLaughlin, O’Ward, Ericsson, Newgarden, Dixon, Sato, Palou and the early-stopping Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda car of Jack Harvey in ninth.

The second stint saw the drivers again settle into a 165mph train, taking care of their fuel numbers and tires, but on Lap 89 Newgarden got a run on Ericsson and passed him for fourth down the front straight. Then O’Ward had to back out of an attempted pass on McLaughlin, he washed up the track, lost speed as he saved the car, and Newgarden was through into third on Lap 91 to complete a Penske 1-2-3. Not too far behind, Sato passed Dixon to take sixth.

O’Ward never quits though, and on Lap 102 he was back past Newgarden for third, and Sato was in the pits. Dixon pitted on Lap 120 for new tires and to take out a turn of front wing. On Lap 123, Power and McLaughlin made their second stops, and next time by Newgarden and Palou did the same, and a lap after that it was O’Ward and Ericsson who stopped. INn the sequence, It was Newgarden who lost out, falling behind Ericsson due to traffic on his in-lap.

Once everyone had made their second stops, it was early second-stopper Sato up front on Lap 135, five seconds ahead of Power, whose closest pursuer was now O’Ward, who got past McLaughlin, who still had a four second lead over Ericsson and Newgarden. Coyne had been gambling on the weather cell ending this race early.

Out came the first yellow on Lap 146, as Harvey scraped the wall at Turn 4. With rain imminent, this left several teams with a dilemma – stop and lose track position, but gain fresh tires, or stay out? Sato, Newgarden and McLaughlin pitted, knowing that they would only drop to eighth, seventh and sixth respectively because everyone else was a lap down, while Power, O’Ward, Ericsson, Dixon and Palou stayed out, hoping that the rain arrived before the fresh-tired cars got to them.

On the restart on Lap 159, Power led into Turn 1, but O’Ward took more speed around the outside and exiting Turn 2 the Arrow McLaren SP was ahead. But Newgarden was taking full advantage of his new tires and being able to run full rich fuel, and had sliced his way forward, demoting Dixon, Ericsson, Palou, Power, and O’Ward to hit the front on Lap 165. He then started laying down fast laps, pulling out his lead to six seconds by Lap 175.

That was the same lap that McLaughlin, having used his fresh Firestones to jump the Ganassi cars on the restart, passed Power and it took him just a few turns more to grab second from O’Ward.

Dixon pitted from seventh on Lap 189, and Palou from sixth on Lap 191, with Ericsson completing the round of Ganassi stops on 192. Power’s team had to respond to the championship threat, and pitted on Lap 194. AMSP told O’Ward it was time to run his fastest laps before pitting in response to Power: he did so and remained ahead of the #12 Penske, the pair separated from each other by one second and by the Meyer Shank Racing-Honda of Simon Pagenaud.

On Lap 206, McLaughlin pitted and a lap later Newgarden was in too. Josef got held up by a backmarker on his in-lap however, and that was enough for him to emerge behind McLaughlin. Once the Coyne cars of Malukas and Sato, and Graham Rahal of RLLR had pitted out of the way, McLaughlin was left leading Newgarden, O’Ward, Power, Malukas, Sato, Ericsson, Dixon, Rahal, Palou.

And then the rain arrived so out came the yellow soon followed by the red, at the completion of Lap 217 of the scheduled 260.

After some 2hr15mins, the race recommenced with McLaughlin and Newgarden out front, despite a scare for the latter when his was among a few cars that stalled at the exit of pitlane. This pair had a three-lapped-car buffer back to O’Ward, Power, Malukas and Sato. Under caution, Palou, Ericsson and Dixon all pitted, as did Rosenqvist, since there were only 10 cars on the lead lap. They would have no worries over fuel or grip now.

McLaughlin retained the lead at the start with 36 to go, but Newgarden dived inside at Turn 3. On Lap 230, Malukas used his fresh tires to demote Power to fifth, with teammate Sato doing the same next time by, but then cutting in front of Power on the straight and making contact with the Penske car.

That dropped Power into the clutches of Ericsson, a prime title rival, and Power was having to save fuel, just like O’Ward who fell victim to Malukas’ charge on Lap 245. The #18 Coyne-RWR car rapidly dispensed of Herta’s lapped machine and on Lap 253 he was under half a second behind McLaughlin, who was getting held up by Newgarden who was trying not to catch Kirkwood.

At the start of the last lap, McLaughlin moved to the inside to protect his position, but Malukas started the last lap just 0.11sec behind him and flicked his car to the outside, leant on his rubber hard on the higher line and took more momentum to clinch a brilliant second place, just 0.47sec behind Newgarden.

Newgarden thus scored his fifth win of the year, to move to just three points behind Power in the championship, while McLaughlin came home a still impressive third.

O’Ward staved off Sato to the checkered flag, and Power held off Ericsson, while Dixon, Palou and Rahal completed the Top 10.

P

Name

Laps

Diff

Led

Engine

Team

1

Josef Newgarden

260

 

78

Chevy

Team Penske

2

David Malukas

260

0.4708

4

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

3

Scott McLaughlin

260

1.0546

12

Chevy

Team Penske

4

Pato O'Ward

260

3.6825

10

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

5

Takuma Sato

260

0.3286

22

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR

6

Will Power

260

6.3297

128

Chevy

Team Penske

7

Marcus Ericsson

260

0.7527

1

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

8

Scott Dixon

260

3.2663

 

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

Alex Palou

260

5.9387

 

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

10

Graham Rahal

260

4.2766

2

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

11

Colton Herta

259

12.8765

 

Honda

Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian

12

Devlin DeFrancesco

259

2.9851

 

Honda

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

13

Romain Grosjean

259

0.6011

2

Honda

Andretti Autosport

14

Jimmie Johnson

259

8.1454

 

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

15

Helio Castroneves

259

2.0947

 

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

16

Felix Rosenqvist

259

1.7706

1

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

17

Kyle Kirkwood

258

4.1814

 

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

18

Dalton Kellett

258

17.1863

 

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

19

Christian Lundgaard

258

5.4910

 

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

20

Simon Pagenaud

257

14.1446

 

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

21

Callum Ilott

257

8.8148

 

Chevy

Juncos Hollinger Racing

22

Ed Carpenter

256

15.7123

 

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

23

Conor Daly

244

4 LAPS

 

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

24

Jack Harvey

239

5 LAPS

 

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

25

Alexander Rossi

226

5 LAPS

 

Honda

Andretti Autosport

26

Rinus VeeKay

53

20 LAPS

 

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

 

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