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RECAP: Honda Indy 200

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES

QUALIFYING.

With all four Andretti Autosport drivers stacked in Group 1 of qualifying’s Round 1, the pressure was on to push hard and advance to Round 2. Rossi, Hunter-Reay, Veach and Andretti danced through the top spots but when the checkers flew, only three advanced. After battling understeer, Andretti found himself missing the cut off by just .0009 seconds and settled for a 13th-place grid position.  

Veach pushed hard in Round 2, but lost his chances on a Fast Six-paced flier lap when the red flag was brought out by James Hinchcliffe late in the session. Veach lined up 12th for Sunday’s 90-lap race.

Indy 500 champions Hunter-Reay and Rossi put on a show in the Firestone Fast Six, but without the fresh Firestone rubber of his competitors, Hunter-Reay ended in the third position while Rossi snagged the Pole position in just one lap – his third pole of the 2018 season.

CHASING THE CHECKERS.

Alexander Rossi worked to narrow the championship gap when he took the twin checkers at Mid-Ohio for his fourth career win and second of the 2018 season. Starting from the Pole position, Rossi led 66 laps during the caution-free race, perfectly executing a daring two-stop fuel strategy.

Tire misfortune hit Ryan Hunter-Reay early in a race, committing the 28 car to a three-stop strategy and an early pit window. After taking the green flag on Firestone sticker reds, the left front of the 28 began to show issues, brining the third-place starter to the pits earlier than planned for new shoes. The day then became a fight for Hunter-Reay on primary black tires while his competitors where on the sticky, alternate red option. The DHL team held on to come to the checkered flag in seventh, Hunter-Reay's ninth top-10 finish of the season.

It was a top-10 finish in front of a home-state crowd for rookie Zach Veach driving a clean, mistake-free 90 laps. Veach now has three top-10 finishes to his name as he continues to build experience and prove that he belongs right where he is - in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The Ruoff Home Mortgage machine of Marco Andretti took the green flag from 13th, and quickly became one of the fastest cars on the track. The third-generation racer had the pace of the leaders, but Mid-Ohio's 13 turns proved tough for passing and the 98 team came home 11th.  

NEXT.

The team heads into a two-weekend break from competition to prepare for the final four races of the season. On-track action will return on Saturday, August 18 for practice and qualifying at the home-track of Marco Andretti. The green flag will wave over the tricky triangle of Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 19 for the second and final 500-mile race of 2018.

Keep up to speed between the checkers and the greens with AndrettiAutosport.com and via our suite of social media channels.

IN THEIR WORDS.

NO. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA
Verizon INDYCAR Series
“We said coming into this weekend that we have to execute for five weekends in a row, this is the start of that, hopefully. The NAPA Andretti team were so on it today. They gave me an amazing race car, and this one’s for them. It was great strategy all day. We could make a two-stop if we committed early, and that’s what we did. Great fuel mileage from Honda, great tire life from Firestone, so an all-around perfect day.”

NO. 28 DHL HONDA
Verizon INDYCAR Series
“It wasn’t our day; it was kind of a mess. I felt like I was running around on crutches out there. We started out on the first set of sticker reds and had a left-front [tire] that was falling apart. I had a huge vibration so we had to pit early – there was no way around it – and that committed us to the strategy. Unfortunately, pitting early like that, then you just put yourself at risk for everybody to overcut you, continuing to run and we just got out of everybody’s way that way, unfortunately. I was just doing whatever I could to hold the floodgates back there at the end. I was on primary black tires racing everybody on sticky, alternate reds. I was doing whatever I could to keep it from coming around at the end. We definitely needed today to go better. It’s unfortunate it went this way today for the DHL, AutoNation and Butterball Turkey team. It’s a bummer. We started third and we thought we had a better shot at it today, but congrats to the No. 27 team and to Alex. He had a good run doing the ol’ two-stopper and it worked out. Everybody said that if it went green all day today, two stops wasn’t going to work, but he showed them."

NO. 26 RELAY / GROUP 1001 HONDA
Verizon INDYCAR Series

“I’m slightly happy to bring home another top-10 finish. The last half of the season we wanted to be consistently in the top 10 and I want to prove that I belong here. I think we’re doing more and more of that every weekend. With no yellow [flags] today, I think we needed to qualify a little bit better to be able to race towards the front, but I’m just so happy that our Relay car had the speed but we just got caught in some traffic. It’s just hard racing out there, especially on the blacks. We were falling back so we were fighting with everything we could with those guys on the red tires, but I think overall it was a pretty good day for us. We learned a ton and I’m excited to go on to Pocono and hopefully we finish a few spots higher.”

NO. 98 RUOFF HOME MORTGAGE / CURB HONDA
Verizon INDYCAR Series

“I’m a bit bummed for the Ruoff Home Mortgage team. We had Bourdais beat and then, I’m not sure what happened, but he was able to gap us there on the second stint. We only had clear track on the second stint and we were flying, so we were one of the fastest cars out there, but the circumstances just didn’t work out.”

INDY LIGHTS PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES SERIES

RACE 1.

Qualifying for Race 1 saw Patricio O'Ward collect the first starting position for the 30-lap race. Ryan Norman earned his highest career start with P2 and it was an all-Andretti front row going into Round 13. Second-generation driver Colton Herta qualified third and veteran Indy Lights driver Dalton Kellett grabbed the sixth grid spot.

The start of Race 1 was a battle between teammates as O'Ward, Norman and Herta settled into the top three positions.  O'Ward led flag-to-flag capturing his sixth victory of the season.

After starting from the second row, Herta gained position when teammate Norman fell to the back of the field. The 18 year old put pressure on O'Ward for the remainder of the race, but ultimately crossed the finish line second.

Kellett raced to gain three positions and earned his fifth career podium - his first on a road course. It was an all-Andretti podium with O'Ward, Herta and Kellett finishing 1-2-3, respectively.

Coming out of a full-course yellow on Lap 20, Norman fell back to fifth and made contact with Santi Urrutia on Lap 23 - resulting in a drive-through penalty for the Cleveland-native.

RACE 2.

Qualifying for Race 2 took place on Saturday morning and it was points leader

Patricio O'Ward who took the pole position - his eighth of the season, tying for the all-time record. Colton Herta grabbed another third-place starting position with teammates Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman starting sixth and seventh, respectively. 

All four drivers took to the road course one last time on Sunday afternoon for Race 2. After starting from pole for Race 1, O’Ward once again led flag-to-flag and held off Herta to sweep the weekend at Mid-Ohio and increase his points lead in the championship.

Herta found himself quickly around second-place Aaron Telitz switching his focus onto teammate O’Ward. The battle for the top spot on the podium between Herta and O’Ward continued all 30 laps but the No. 98 machine didn’t have enough to get in-front of O’Ward and Herta settled in for a second-place finish.

Norman, took the start of the race from the back of the field but was quick and moved past his competitors finding himself on the final step of the podium completing a weekend sweep for Andretti Autosport.

Kellett was hoping to capture a second podium finish and ran as high as fifth where he would remain through the checkers.

NEXT.

The Indy Lights team heads into a four week break before they travel to Gateway Motorsports Park for Round 15 of competition. The drivers will take to their last oval of the season on Saturday, August 25.

 IN THEIR WORDS.

NO. 27 MEXICO #AWORLDOFITSOWN MAZDA
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series 

 Race 1.

“It wasn’t an easy race. My teammates were putting some pretty good pressure on me – Ryan in the beginning and Colton in the end. It’s pretty hard to keep people behind you once they can engage the push-to-pass and I was just trying to monitor that gap. I’m super stoked for the 27 crew, we have three in a row. It would be nice to get a fourth one tomorrow for a clean sweep of the weekend. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and carrying the momentum into the end of the season.”

Race 2. 

"At the beginning I was way more comfortable because I got in front of Aaron by a few seconds. Then the yellow came out and that wasn't in our favor. Once Colton [Herta] could engage in push-to-pass, it was hard to get rid of him. I just wanted him to run out of the ones he had and then I knew I could take [the win] - but to get to that point was pretty hard. I'm really pleased with the weekend and the points gained. Looking forward to getting to Gateway next!"

NO. 98 ANDRETTI-STEINBRENNER RACING / CURB HONDA
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1.

“It’s a tough track to pass on. I didn’t get the best of starts – it’s kind of hard when you start third, you sort of get cooped up on the inside of Turn 1 and don’t get a great run. Once everybody fans out a bit and tires come up to temp, it’s hard to pass. This is a track that is not known for overtakes. Luckily, we had a yellow and I had a chance there. It was tough but happy to be on the podium and collecting any points we can to close the gap.”

Race 2.

"I knew it would be a tough race after yesterday. I got the feel for the start – it’s easy if you start second place to hold the position around the outside and squeeze the bottom. I didn’t want to risk anything and touch Aaron [Telitz]. I didn’t get the best of starts but I got along side of [Aaron] in Turn 1 and then backed out and let him go through. I was able to get by on the next lap and from then on it was focus forward. It was tough, me and Pato [O'Ward] were just trading lap times. The safety car came out and we didn’t have too much after that. I got massive understeer and the front right just started ripping apart the last few laps. That’s what happens here – it’s tough once you have understeer and are following somebody. Eventually the tires fall off more and more. In the end, I think Pato was a little bit quicker than us today. It’s a shame, I thought we had a really good car in qualifying and I wish we could have maximized that a little more and start on Pole. We’ll go on to Gateway; it’s an important weekend for points."

NO. 48 JOURNEY MAZDA

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

 Race 1.

"Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome that we were hoping for after starting second. We were running strong until after the restart and then things just went south from there. Congrats to my teammates for finishing 1-2-3 today. Tomorrow is a new day and we have one more race to fight for that podium finish."

Race 2.

“I was putting the pressure on [Santi Urrutia] and it was definitely all about timing coming out of Turn 2. There were a couple times that I got a pretty good run on him but couldn’t get by him. He made a slight mistake on the run that I got by him and I was able to go super deep in Turn 4 and was able to get around him and then spaced out. It was a fun race and it's really awesome to be able to podium in my home state. I was really heartbroken after yesterday but we were able to rebound today and grab the podium. Overall, there are a lot of positives to take away this weekend.”

NO. 28 K-LINE INSULATORS USA MAZDA
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1.

“It was a good start to the race. I was mixing it up with Santi [Urrutia] and [Aaron] Telitz and me and Santi got a little bit of racing contact in Turn 2 and I kind of got shuffled back to sixth. I collected a free position when Aaron spun out and then when Santi pitted, I was up to fourth. I had a good battle with me, Colton [Herta] and Ryan [Norman] off the restart. Ryan was working to pass Colton in Turn 2 and I was able to take advantage and get by Ryan in Turn 4. That kind of cemented the podium position. The Andretti guys did a good job – we had a car that was quick, and we were able to keep some guys behind us. Congrats to Ryan and to the team on sweeping the podium today.”

Race 2.

“Not an ideal finish - we obviously wanted to be back on the podium. Congrats to the teammates – another Andretti podium sweep. It’s been a good weekend overall, today it just seemed we couldn’t find the speed to be competitive. We had major high-speed understeer in Turn 1 and 11, so was really struggling there. Thanks to the K-LINE Ten80 crew for all the work they’ve done this weekend.”