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Newgarden takes Penske's first win of 2021 at Mid-Ohio

With a flashback to the opening round of the NTT IndyCar Series season at Barber Motorsports Park, trouble did not take long to find the field at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

At Mid-Ohio, cars are given the green flag on the backstretch to avoid mishaps going into the tight first turn. Going into turn four, James Hichcliffe got into his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay which sent him around. While the bottleneck ensued, Romain Grosjean got into the returning Felix Rosenqvist which brought out the first caution of the day.

The race restarted on lap four and polesitter Joesf Newgarden started pulling away from the rest of the field as Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top three. In the top five, Will Power was the only driver who started on the primary black Firestone compound as everyone else started on the alternate red tires.

Scott Dixon tried with all his might to pass Power who was holding him up on the harder compound. After taking an inside move on Power in the Keyhole (Turn Two), Power got in Dixon's draft going down the back stretch and tried to take the position back going into turn four. Dixon pinched Power in to the curb, made contact with him and sent Power around. Although no one could see Power through the think layer of smoke that was created when he spun, Ed Jones then collided into Power's car and both retired from the race.

Restaring on lap ten, the top four all stayed on alternate tires and Alexander Rossi was the highest scoring driver on primaries. Fighting off the hard charging points leader of Alex Palou and Rinus Veekay.

After 20 laps of racing, Newgarden has a 1.7 second lead over Herta. Herta had a 2.5 second lead over Ericsson.

While everyone is making their first stops of the day, Colton Herta was coming in to make his first stop on lap 30. That stop led to disaster for Herta as a fuel probe malfunction led to Herta falling back to seventh place.

At halfway, Newgarden had an 8.5 second lead over Ericsson. Rounding out the podium to this point was Scott Dixon who was under pressure by Alexander Rossi and Alex Palou.

On lap 58, Herta again ran into pit road troubles as he stalled on pit road. Dropping him to ninth place after being passed by O'Ward and Grosjean.

With 20 laps to go, Newgarden remained in the lead with Ericcson closing the gap to 6.5 seconds. Palou was third. While the battle between Dixon, Rossi, Rahal, and O'Ward got in a mini-pack on the race track.

Newgarden then ran into rough lap traffic as his lead shrunk by about three seconds. Herta and Grosjean started to make ground on O'Ward and passed him as his balance began to fall off. Newgarden's lead evaporated coming with two to go as it dropped to 1.4 seconds as he tried to keep a clean track in front of him. Ericcson's late race charge was a couple laps too late as Newgarden held on to get his first win of the year.

For Team Penske, the win at Mid-Ohio was the first win of the 2021 campaign and was fifty years and one day to his first win in the IndyCar Series that was by Mark Donohue at Pocono in 1971.

For the NTT IndyCar Series and drivers, the series enjoys a month off as the next race takes place on the Streets of Nashville for the first running of the Music City Grand Prix on August 8th. Alex Palou hold on to a championship lead of 39 points over Pato O'Ward as the races remaining in the season trickles down to only six races to go until the championship finale at the Streets of Long Beach.


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