A strategy play has put last-place starter Scott Dixon into the lead at the halfway point of the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Dixon last pitted on Lap 31, and stayed out under a Lap 37 caution to take the lead from Sebastien Bourdais. Josef Newgarden, Carlos Munoz, and Graham Rahal were third, fourth, and fifth respectively as the race hit Lap 45 of 90.
The start of today’s race was eventful for IndyCar championship leader Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti – but not in the way they were hoping for.
As the rest of the field made their way out for pace laps, Castroneves had to deal with a throttle issue on his car that wouldn’t be resolved until after the race began.
But shortly after the green flag came out between Turns 3 and 4, Tony Kanaan spun out in 4 and was then hit by Marco Andretti; both drivers were OK but unable to continue on.
Castroneves was able to return to the track just before the race restarted at Lap 5. Green flag stops began for the field around Lap 10, but the leaders were able to go past Lap 20 on their opening stints. Second-place Newgarden went in for black primary tires at Lap 21 and race leader Bourdais went in for a new set of red alternates five laps later.
Bourdais’ stop handed the lead to Ryan Hunter-Reay, who then pitted for blacks at Lap 27. But moments after he came out ahead of Bourdais, Race Control hit him with a pit road speeding violation that forced him to the pits for a drive-through.
Hunter-Reay shuffled back to ninth after serving the penalty, while Bourdais re-assumed control of the race ahead of Newgarden, Munoz, Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe.
On Lap 37, Hunter-Reay suffered more trouble when he looped around his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda coming off Turn 11 before coming to rest in Turn 12. The spin brought out a full-course yellow and knocked Hunter-Reay one lap down.
During the yellow, Takuma Sato suddenly pulled off course at Turn 6. While Sato was being taken care of, the leaders decided to pit at Lap 40 and Bourdais was able to win the race out.