The 85-lap affair at the road course-configured Indianapolis Motor Speedway was won by Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, who rose to the lead after his teammate struck trouble.
Having started ninth, hard charger Colton Herta rose to the lead by lap eight with a pass on pole position winner Felix Rosenqvist of McLaren SP.
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However by lap 42, his hopes were dashed when his car suddenly lost drive. That gifted Rossi the lead, who cruised home to a 3.5-second win over Christian Lundgaard and Power.
It’s the first time Rossi has won an IndyCar Series race since 2019 at Road America.
“It’s a relief, man,” said Rossi.
“It’s been so many things for so long. I do feel for Colton, I do, but I’m happy. Thankfully, something came our way.
“I just want to give a huge shoutout to Andretti Autosport and their continued belief. There’s just been so much belief for so long, it’s just nice to finally accomplish it.”
From pole position, Rosenqvist led the field into the first turn. Behind him, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden threatened to take top spot away with a surge from fifth to third.
Drama struck Rosenqvist’s teammate Pato O’Ward in turn two after he, Power and Herta went three-wide. O’Ward fell to the rear of the field, the clash deemed a racing incident.
From fourth on the grid, Power had to slow to avoid any further contact with O’Ward and duly fell down the field to 11th by the end of the opening lap.
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That was compounded on lap two when a bold dive by Meyer Shank Racing driver Helio Castroneves split Power and David Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD, forcing the Australian to check up and drop to 16th.
The full course caution would come out on the third lap when AJ Foyt Racing driver Dalton Kellett drove into the side of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson. Power took the opportunity to pit under the yellow, receiving a fresh set of tyres and fuel.
Racing resumed on lap six with Rosenqvist at the head of the field. Second placed Rossi divebombed the leader on the restart, but overshot the first turn and lost out to Herta.
Herta continued his charge, passing Rosenqvist for the lead on lap eight. Rossi and Lundgaard were quick to pounce as well and quickly blew by the Swede.
Herta pulled into the pits on lap 14 for his first stop with Rossi and Rosenqvist in tow. Scott McLaughlin, who was on a tear from 15th on the grid, rose to the lead courtesy of running long on his first set of tyres, but pitted on lap 23.
With various strategies playing out, Power held top spot on lap 25 over O’Ward and Takuma Sato who had all pitted under yellow earlier in the race. Herta was the effective leader in fourth followed by Rossi and Lundgaard on the same strategy.
With his first pit stop, McLaughlin dropped back to seventh followed by teammate Newgarden. By lap 32, Power and O’Ward stopped, allowing Herta to have his lead back to the tune of 1.9s over Rossi.
The second yellow flag intervention of the day was called when Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud ran out of fuel on lap 36.
That was a blessing in disguise for Power who, having only just completed his pit stop, surged forward while the lion’s share of the field stopped to avoid getting hung out to dry by the caution.
Once everyone pitted, it was Herta who led Rossi, Lundgaard then Power. Johnson was fifth but was on much older tyres having last pitted 10 laps earlier. McLaughlin, Newgarden, O’Ward, Sato and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing completed the top 10.
After racing resumed just shy of halfway, a cruel stroke of bad luck befell race leader Herta on lap 42 when his engine began free-revving and lost drive. He coasted back to the pit lane, avoiding a full course caution, though that spelt the end of his day.
Once the final pit stop cycle was completed, Rossi held a 2.5-second lead over Lundgaard. Power was a distant third, some six seconds in arrears, while McLaughlin and Newgarden sat fourth and fifth.
Those places would stay the same until the chequered flag. In the end, Rossi checked out and cruised across the line to take his first win of the season.
With second, Lundgaard recorded his first IndyCar Series podium finish.
Third for Power took him to the points lead, who now holds sway over 11th place finisher Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing by nine points.
McLaughlin was fourth, Newgarden fifth and VeeKay sixth. Graham Rahal was seventh while Scott Dixon kept his title hopes on track with a quiet run from 20th to eighth. Rosenqvist and Palou completed the top 10.
The IndyCar Series continues next weekend with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville.
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