Today’s Honda 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has begun with trouble for Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan (pictured), and Marco Andretti.
As the cars went out for pre-race pace laps, Castroneves was suffering with a stuck throttle on his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet.
The Brazilian was due to start 15th on the grid but instead had to see the field take the green flag without him.
But moments after the race began, third-place Tony Kanaan went over the curbing at Turn 4 and spun out. Most of the field was able to avoid him, but Marco Andretti was unable to do so and ran into Kanaan.
“It was really tight for both of us [Kanaan and second-place Josef Newgarden] and I don’t know if he saw me or not,” Kanaan told NBCSN. “I was all the way alongside him and then toward the middle of the corner, he was actually a little ahead so there was contact there. He touched my front wheel and I spun.
“Man, I was in a tough position there. And then Marco didn’t see me, unfortunately. I feel bad for Marco. I feel bad for the Target Chip Ganassi boys. We had such a great streak of podiums and this was gonna be a good race but it’s one of those things.”
As for Andretti, he admonished himself for not being able to qualify further up the grid in order to avoid being caught in Kanaan’s incident.
“That’s what happens when I start back there,” Andretti said to NBCSN. “My qualifying has been pathetic. I’m super frustrated and I’ve got to work on that. That’s first off.
“But what’s breaking my heart right now is where [teammate James] Hinchcliffe is. He’s sixth on the track and he started behind me. It’s just – we gotta qualify better.”
Under the ensuing caution, Castroneves was finally able to get going and returned to the track just before the race restarted at Lap 5. However, the door’s now open for Team Penske teammate Will Power to take over the championship lead with a good result today.
Before today’s race, Castroneves was up by 13 points on Power in the standings.