Will Power runner-up again at Mid-Ohio

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For all his prowess on road and street courses, it’s surprising that Team Penske’s Will Power has yet to win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Entering this weekend, his best results at the Lexington, Ohio road course were a pair of second-place results in 2012 and 2016, and he looked poised to win both of those races as well, only to see pit stops or on-track passes take those potential wins away.

Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio was more of the same for Power. Sitting on the pole, Power jumped out at to an early lead ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden, but lost it in the early laps after Newgarden made a daring move in which he faked outside and sliced up the inside of Power entering turn 4.

Newgarden quickly built up a gap over Power, and the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion was never able to close on him from there. A lap 67 caution for a spinning Ed Jones erased the gap between the two, which might have given Power an advantage, as he was on the red alternate tires while Newgarden was on the primary blacks.

But, with the lapped car of Esteban Gutierrez in between the two, it was always going to be difficult to mount an attack, and Power was unable to pass the Dale Coyne Racing driver on the lap 70 restart. Power resigned himself to finish second from there, his third runner-up finish at Mid-Ohio.

However, in the post-race press conference, Power actually felt he overachieved given the car’s pace. “It’s much better than starting sixth and finishing seventh! So that’s as good as we could do,” Power said of the result. “(We) kind of weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying. So second, for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today.”

Still, Power acknowledged that the lapped car of Gutierrez put paid to his chances of a late-race push for the win. He did not fault Gutierrez, but did mention he would like the rule regarding lapped traffic to be revisited.

“It’s actually not Gutierrez’s fault. The rules for IndyCar is kind of ridiculous, that the team would tell him to stay and push and he’s not even in the lead,” Power asserted. “He’s not even leading. I understand if he was ahead of Newgarden because then, if it goes yellow, he gets his lap back. Yeah, I mean, IndyCar on one hand wants really good racing, but then you put a bunch of back markers, people a lap down in the mix. It ruined probably a very good battle at the end because Josef was on black tires and we were on reds.”

Even though he missed out on a victory, Power did gain a little ground in the championship fight. He broke a tie he had with Graham Rahal entering Mid-Ohio and now sits fifth all by himself, 52 points behind new points leader Newgarden.

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.