Rosenqvist defeats O'Ward for maiden IndyCar win - The Race
IndyCar

Rosenqvist defeats O’Ward for maiden IndyCar win

Jul 12 2020
By Jack Benyon

Felix Rosenqvist pulled off a stunning late pass on Patricio O’Ward at Road America for his first IndyCar win, ensuring Chip Ganassi Racing has won all four races to start the season.

Arrow McLaren SP’s O’Ward poleman got a good start and stayed out of trouble in what was a dramatic first lap – the dramas mainly caused by Will Power, who finished second after pitstop issues and an incorrect second gear ratio in his Penske-run car in Saturday’s race.

From eighth on the grid, first he clipped fourth-place starter Ryan Hunter-Reay into a spin at Turn 1, and then banged wheels with Graham Rahal who spun getting back on the power at Turn 3 and crashed heavily into the wall.

Power was sent to the back of the field for his role in the incidents, and then brought out a caution for going off on his own at the last corner, pitting shortly after on lap six of 55.

While O’Ward looked assured during the first stint, the fast-starting Rosenqvist – who was hit by Rahal before the latter crashed – eked out his first stint longer, and used the clear air he received as a reward to pump in some impressive laptimes and a rapid in-lap to jump into victory contention.

The strategy was unexpected as the undercut had allowed Scott Dixon and Power to jump four and five spots in Saturday’s race, but the clean air laps from Rosenqvist proved vital.

For his second stop Rosenqvist executed the same strategy, but crucially his car was dropped off its jack before the front-left was fitted, and a four-second gap to O’Ward swelled to over seven seconds.

Despite closing in before the final stop, Rosenqvist’s in-lap wasn’t stellar and O’Ward emerged with a six-second gap with around 12 laps to go.

With O’Ward on the softer tyre and Rosenqvist on the harder compound, Rosenqvist inevitably closed in at the end of the stint as O’Ward’s tyres went away.

As the race ticked to five laps to go, O’Ward was caught and passed by backmarker Conor Daly – who he crashed into the day before – and was then caught in his dirty air as Rosenqvist closed to a second behind.

O’Ward – saving fuel at this stage – was helpless to stop Rosenqvist’s advances and the pair banged wheels at Turn 5 and 6, before Rosenqvist just edged ahead at Turn 7 with a lap and a half to go.

Rosenqvist was unlucky not to win last year in a rookie of the year season, but delivered on his promise with an exceptional drive in the second Road America race of the weekend.

O’Ward has moved up significantly in the points with a third top 10 of the season, although he will have to wait for his first victory a little while longer.

Pato O'ward Arrow Mclaren Sp

Alexander Rossi’s Andretti Autosport team tried absolutely everything – including burning sage above his cockpit – to expunge his bad luck, and it paid off with a first podium of the season, his best result prior being 14th.

He was able to match O’Ward and Rosenqvist’s pace in the second half of the race but had lost too much time getting into the top three in the early stages to challenge, yet will no doubt be delighted to take a podium, having not led a lap since his race win here last year.

Rossi’s fellow ex-Formula 1 driver Marcus Ericsson was able to match Ganassi team-mate Rosenqvist’s tyre longevity and late-stint pace to move through the top 10 into fourth for his best result since joining the team, and his second-best in IndyCar.

An impressive move around the outside of front-row starter Colton Herta at Turn 5 with 15 laps to go was the key to the result.

Herta – who was a rapid rookie last year but one who struggled for consistency – has finished seventh, fourth and fifth twice for the Andretti Steinbrenner squad, and although he couldn’t back-up his second place in qualifying, it’s another result that makes him a genuine title contender and closes the gap to points’ leader Dixon.

Santino Ferrucci was sent to the back of the grid for spinning out Jack Harvey at Turn 1 on lap one, but showed skill in saving fuel and tyres to get himself back in contention and eventually took sixth ahead of Dale Coyne team-mate Alex Palou.

Rookie Palou took third yesterday but struggled for overall grip after a strong first stint and fell back, while Takuma Sato rounded out the top eight just behind him as Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s sole survivor.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden scored ninth, rebounding from his first finish outside of the top 10 this season on Saturday, ahead of a resurgent Charlie Kimball.

Championship leader Dixon’s race unravelled with two poor pitstops, the first with a sticking rear-right wheel and the last of the race with two stalls that dropped him out of a top five. He emerged 19th and fought back to 12th.

He had won Saturday’s race and the other two races to start the season, Rosenqvist upholding the team’s honour on Sunday.

Dixon almost reeled in Power at the end, but was unable to make a move on the Penske driver labelled a “wrecking ball” by Hunter-Reay.

Simon Pagenaud fought back from a 22nd-place start for Penske to take 13th behind Dixon.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Honda 55 8 1h51m22.039s 1m47.18s 3 51
2 Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet 55 43 +2.87s 1m47.514s 3 44
3 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda 55 0 +8.616s 1m48.075s 3 35
4 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Honda 55 0 +14.223s 1m47.596s 3 32
5 Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport Dallara-Honda 55 0 +32.416s 1m47.838s 3 31
6 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Dallara-Honda 55 0 +35.888s 1m49.261s 4 28
7 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Dallara-Honda 55 0 +36.77s 1m47.436s 3 26
8 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara-Honda 55 0 +47.943s 1m48.609s 3 24
9 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +48.786s 1m47.436s 3 22
10 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +53.061s 1m48.655s 3 20
11 Will Power Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet 55 4 +53.971s 1m49.439s 4 20
12 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Honda 55 0 +54.534s 1m47.98s 3 18
13 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +56.393s 1m48.944s 3 17
14 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +1m0.437s 1m48.329s 3 16
15 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +1m0.468s 1m49.21s 3 15
16 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda 55 0 +1m06.835s 1m48.338s 3 14
17 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara-Honda 55 0 +1m08.296s 1m48.36s 3 13
18 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara-Chevrolet 55 0 +1m45.468s 1m49.082s 7 12
19 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Dallara-Honda 54 0 +1 lap 1m49.107s 3 11
20 Dalton Kellett A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara-Chevrolet 54 0 +1 lap 1m49.415s 4 10
21 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet 53 0 +2 laps 1m50.527s 4 9
Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 8
Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 7

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