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O’Ward Outguns Palou, Begins Hybrid Era With Mid-Ohio Win

LEXINGTON, Ohio - Pato O’Ward became the first winner of the NTT IndyCar Series hybrid engine era, after taking the checkered flag in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 


The driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet fended off Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, beating him by a narrow margin to win his second race of the year. O’Ward’s first win of 2024 came in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete after Josef Newgarden was disqualified for a push-to-pass violation.


“This feels like the first win of the season,” O’Ward said. “I know St. Pete we were P2 and ultimately ended up getting the win because (Team) Penske cheated, and yeah, the (Indianapolis) 500 was two corners short.”


Starting from the pole, Palou looked strong early on, putting the gap to O’Ward in second place by over five seconds. O’Ward reeled him back into striking distance in the second half of the race.


But the dagger for Palou came during the final pit stop, with a long fueling period keeping him from getting his No. 10 Ridgeline Lubriants Honda into gear and making him slow to exit the pits. Then, O’Ward was in control the rest of the way despite intense pressure from Palou and lapped traffic at the end.


“I was trying to baby those tires and they didn’t like me,” Palou said. “I  had big blisters on the front tires, and the 5 (O’Ward) started catching us.


”It was honestly a good day for the 10 car. It feels a bit worse when you know that you had the car and everything that you needed to win, but still, it was a good podium day.” 


Palou increased his lead in the championship, who is now 49 points ahead of Will Power

Scott McLaughlin had a quiet but hard-fought day. Separated from the top two, the Kiwi lifted and coasted his way into the podium, going for the overcut to pass Andretti Global’s Colton Herta to finish in third place.


“We made a lot of ground in that first sting… I’m sick of getting overcut myself so I was like, ‘stuff it’, I’m going to be overcutting today,” McLaughlin joked. 


After being the only Team Penske car to finish inside the top 10, Mclaughlin earned the “Thirsty Threes” his third podium finish of the year. 


“Nice to get another solid result and hopefully we can go into Iowa where we know we’ll probably be pretty quick,” McLaughlin said. “Just a matter of putting everything together over this next little bit to the end of the championship.”


Outside The Podium

The introduction of the hybrid engine brought so many unknowns and questions related to its reliability. Scott Dixon instantly called those questions back into light, after his No. 9 PNC Bank Honda stalled on the warm-up laps. 


This ended up being the only caution of the race as Dixon eventually joined the race and finished in last place, 40 laps down.


It was a chaotic, uncharacteristic day for Josef Newgarden. The driver of the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet was running as high as fifth place, after starting the race in 17th.


However, a pair of drive-through penalties for speeding in pit lane and a stop-and-go for failure to follow the direction of IndyCar sent the two-time Indy 500 champion deep into the field.


Newgarden finished 25th, one lap down.


“Yeah, something changed, some sort of software issue,” Newgarden said. “We were plenty safe on our procedure, it just looks like it overshoots. I do not know what caused it, we don’t know what caused it. 


“Some sort of software issue because the speed was identical on both speeding penalties. So, for some reason, it changed from the first two and started overshooting. I am not sure what happened, but we will try and diagnose it and understand it for the future, so it doesn’t happen again.”


It was also a disappointing day for Meyer Shank Racing’s David Malukas. After an impressive qualifying session yesterday, Malukas rolled off in third place, hoping to stay in a podium position. 


Trouble during the first pit stop kept that from happening as Malukas stalled leaving his pit box. Having to restart the car externally, Malukas rejoined the field well outside of the top 10. 


The No. 66 AutoNation/Arctic Wolf Honda ended the day in 12th.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Christian Rasmussen picked up the best finish in his young IndyCar career. The rookie driver of the No. 20 Guy Care Chevrolet started eighth and did not look back. 


Following an early battle with fellow rookie Linus Lundqvist, Rasmussen ran a clean race and secured his first top-ten finish in IndyCar competition


Just behind him was the biggest mover of the race, Santino Ferrucci. Starting 21st, Ferrucci made moves on and off track to make up 11 positions, giving the AJ Foyt Racing driver his sixth top-10 finish of the year.


GRID Ranking

The 2024 GRID Ranking is the eighth year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 7.


The official ranking includes drivers that participate in seven racing series (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP), and each driver earns GRID Ratings, which help determine their seeding in the GRID Ranking.


GRID Ranking Week 14 INDYCAR Drivers:

DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

Alex Palou

15.84

6th

2nd

16.31

5th

Will Power

13.20

11th

11th

11.88

15th

Scott Dixon

13.08

12th

27th

11.77

16th

Pato O'Ward

N/A

N/A

1st

10.26

23rd

Colton Herta

9.72

26th

4th

10.04

24th

The NTT IndyCar Series will return next weekend for a doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. On Saturday, June 13, the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 will kick off under the lights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. 


Then, the Hy-Vee One Step 250 is scheduled for Sunday, June 14 (NBC, Noon ET).


Results: 2024 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

2024 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio results.

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