General

Again, Pole is not a guarantee in race

Again, Pole is not a guarantee in race

Where to start with Arrow McLaren SP’s strong start at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course that ended with such disappointment?

A team that qualified in the top four with two cars finished without showing much.

A mechanical failure first eliminated Felix Rosenqvist, who started the Honda Indy 200 in Mid-Ohio presented by the all-new 2023 Civic Type R in fourth position. Shortly after, Pato O’Ward, winner of the NTT P1 Award, experienced similar power problems that eventually caused his car to stop.

O’Ward finished 24th, Rosenqvist 27th.

In the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, nine different drivers took pole in the first nine races of this season, but only one went to the win track (Scott McLaughlin in St. Petersburg). O’Ward became the fourth pole winner to finish that race in the 1920s – Rosenqvist was another at Texas Motor Speedway.

Pole winners this season have an average finish of 11.4.

O’Ward also suffered in the standings and lost a position. He is now fifth, 65 points behind series leader Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Apparently (the problem) was something (related to) the fuel delivery,” said the driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. “It just got worse and worse and worse… (it) just failed.

“It’s a pity, man. It’s frustrating because we threw out an easy pole in front of us. We had a lot of pace during the (weekend). The car was really well put together for qualifying.”

As the problem came to light early in the race, it bothered O’Ward until the car finally stopped driving and left the pit box for the last stop on lap 54.

“I was trying to switch to emergency modes and other (fuel) maps,” O’Ward said of the things he was trying to do to fix the problem. “It really started to fall off on the maps that really give you power and then the ones that help you save fuel, it wanted to stay there for a bit – then it failed in those two. I couldn’t even get into sixth gear.

“From there, you’re pretty much helpless.”

Rosenqvist was looking for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish.

The Swede driving the No 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet qualified fourth and managed third on Firestone primary tyres, but on lap 9 his car stalled as he came through Turn 2. His race was over in seconds.

“It’s just a shame,” he said. “We had a very, very, very good run. I feel for all the Arrow McLaren SP guys who work so hard… big loss.

“You never know what would happen later, but I just felt like we were sailing there. I think we showed that we were fighting for positions up there. We just have to come back and do it all over again.”

Odds and Ends

· Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 BitNile Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing) had at least one of the passes of the season. At a turn on lap 39, he overtook two-time series champion Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet) and six-time series champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda). Newgarden and Rossi have won eight races in Mid-Ohio together.

Team Penske drivers have won six of nine races this season, including three in a row since the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (won by Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing).

· Ericsson finished sixth in the number 8 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda, taking away seven points from his lead as Power finished third. They are separated by 20 points with eight races to go.

· In the no. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet took McLaughlin’s 50th overall win for Roger Penske’s motorsport empire.

· As further proof that series rookie David Malukas and his No. 18 HMD Honda of Dale Coyne Racing at HMD Motorsports are on the right track, his first takeaway was disappointment with a career-best ninth. (His best results had been a couple of elevenths.) Malukas was the best rookie after three had started in the top 10. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard finished 11th.

Andretti Autosport’s Hunter McElrea broke through in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and won his first series race in a dominant fashion. He completed all weekend sessions and led all 35 laps from pole. HMD Motorsports’ Linus Lundqvist finished third with Dale Coyne Racing extending his series lead to 87 points over Andretti Autosport’s Sting Ray Robb, who finished fifth. Next up for Indy Lights: Iowa Speedway on July 23.

· Louis Foster of Exclusive Autosport increased his lead in Indy Pro 2000 to 49 points by finishing second behind DEForce Racing’s Kiko Porto in the back half of the doubleheader. Foster won the first race. Porto’s win was his first in the series.

· Pabst Racing’s Myles Rowe had a great weekend in USF2000, jumping to the lead by winning the first two races and finishing third in Sunday’s final. Former Cape Motorsports series leader Michael d’Orlando won the third race, his sixth of the season and seventh of his career. Rowe’s points lead is 12 over d’Orlando.

· The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action July 22-24 in Toronto. Due to the pandemic and associated travel restrictions, this will be the first event to be held at Exhibition Place since 2019. Simon Pagenaud won the most recent race. USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 are also part of the weekend schedule of doubleheader events.

!function (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {
if (f.fbq) return; n = f.fbq = function () {
n.callMethod ?
n.callMethod.apply(n, arguments) : n.queue.push(arguments)
}; if (!f._fbq) f._fbq = n;
n.push = n; n.loaded = !0; n.version = ‘2.0’; n.queue = []; t = b.createElement(e); t.async = !0;
t.src = v; s = b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(t, s)
}(window,
document, ‘script’, ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);

fbq(‘init’, ‘339960496169543’);
fbq(‘track’, “PageView”);