Josef Newgarden Wins Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Josef Newgarden Wins Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

by July 4, 2021 0 comments

After four straight races of soul-crushing defeats, Team Penske finally got their first IndyCar win of 2021. More importantly, it comes for their top driver in points, Josef Newgarden. Newgarden had chances to win in the last two races but rolled snake eyes in both attempts. The Indy 200 is a massive win for the pride of Hendersonville, TN heading into a month-plus break.

Early Carnage

A couple of early cautions would begin things in Mid-Ohio. A first-lap incident would put both Ryan Hunter-Reay, as well a returning Felix Rosenqvist well behind the eight ball. Both drivers would end up multiple laps down by around the midway point of the race. Leading to finishes of third and second to last respectively.

Then, early into the ensuing restart, Scott Dixon would turn Will Power going into turn five, causing a wall of smoke to cloud the downhill corner. Power would end up getting hit by Ed Jones in the crossfire, ending both of their days in the process. The NBC crew caught up to Power once he was checked and released from the Infield Care Center.

Newgarden Dominates Early Again

After securing his third consecutive pole position in qualifying, Newgarden looked poised to turn around some of his brutal luck as of late. He would dominate the early portion of the race, only surrendering the lead when he came to pit road around lap 25 and gave up the lead to Colton Herta. Herta, due to a 20-plus second pit stop would then by default give the lead back to Newgarden due to this colossal error.

After regaining the lead, Newgarden laid down the gauntlet on the rest of the field for another 20 or so odd laps. This before he came down for his last stop of the day on lap 54, surrendering the lead to Marcus Ericsson. However, Newgarden would regain the lead in short order, as Ericsson pitted all but a lap later. Newgarden once again seemed poised for a win, but that has also been the case in recent weeks as well. He has lost the last two races in excruciating fashion. What he did not know this time was that his luck was about to turn around.

Third Times the Charm

Coming down the stretch with under five laps to go, Ericsson had made major inroads into Newgarden’s lead. Cutting the gap from nearly three seconds to a half-second by the last lap. But by the skin of his teeth, Newgarden was able to hold off the Swede to finally pick up his first win of 2021. Especially after how Road America went down, this was absolutely gigantic for both Newgarden and Team Penske.

In a notable win for Team Penske, this also comes 50 years and one day after the first Penske IndyCar win. That being the late Mark Donahue winning at Pocono in 1971. Newgarden also officially becomes the most winning active American driver in IndyCar with 19, surpassing Hunter-Reay for the top spot. With this win, Newgarden now gives himself a fair shot to win his third IndyCar title with just a handful of rounds left. That quest will continue after a one-month break, when IndyCar invades the streets of Nashville, TN for the first time ever. It will be a homecoming for the Tennessee native.

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Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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