Gateway IndyCar: Newgarden wins attritional race, O'Ward assumes points lead

Josef Newgarden held off Pato O’Ward to take victory in an attritional IndyCar race at Gateway, as the Mexican driver took the drivers’ standings lead from Alex Palou.

Gateway IndyCar: Newgarden wins attritional race, O'Ward assumes points lead

Pouncing on misfortune for long-time leader Colton Herta, who suffered a mechanical issue while leading with relative comfort, Newgarden assumed the lead of the race.

The Tennessee native had previously taken the lead during the pit phase amid the third caution period, produced by Ed Carpenter’s shunt, after leapfrogging Penske team-mate Will Power and Herta out of the pitlane.

But Herta put in a rapid mid-race charge to shuffle up to the lead, clearing Josef Newgarden and Alex Rossi following the middle pitstop phase.

The Andretti driver then began to cement his advantage over the rest of the field, expecting to be able to go longer than Newgarden thanks to his superior fuel mileage.

But a driveshaft failure forced Herta in early, and the issue was evident when his right wheel was unable to deliver traction out of his pitbox, ending his race.

Newgarden was then able to pick up the pieces, and a looming challenge from Rossi for the lead was abruptly ended when the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner hit the wall with 60 laps to go, having caught the marbles off-line.

After that final caution period, Newgarden had to spend the remaining 50 laps of green flag running holding off O’Ward, which he duly did so after peeling the Arrow McLaren SP driver away from the rest of the pack.

O’Ward’s second-place finish guarantees him the lead of the drivers’ standings with three rounds remaining, as Palou was taken out along with Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon by Rinus VeeKay.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Immediately after the restart following the fourth caution period, VeeKay clipped the rear of Palou and sent the Spanish racer into Dixon’s car, rendering Palou’s machine too damaged to continue.

Polesitter Power collected a strong third-place finish a week after his first win of the year, as Scott McLaughlin continued to showcase his growing potential on oval courses with fourth place – making it three Penske runners in the top four.

Sebastien Bourdais ran off-strategy for the majority of the race and was rewarded for his and the AJ Foyt team’s bravery with the opportunity to pit under the final caution, after which he claimed fifth at the line.

Takuma Sato was sixth having run to a similar strategy as Bourdais, while Ryan Hunter-Reay was 5.8s off the Japanese driver in seventh.

Simon Pagenaud overcame early contact with team-mate Newgarden to finish eighth; Pagenaud had been clipped by the eventual race winner on the Lap 16 restart, losing a chunk of his front wing and leaving him having to recover from the back of the field.

He finished ahead of Marcus Ericsson, as Jack Harvey completed the top 10 – in a race where only 13 cars crossed the finish line on the lead lap.

Romain Grosjean proved to be a livewire in his first oval race, struggling with pace in the initial stages before a surge at the start of the race’s middle portion brought him into the top 10.

But Grosjean's green-flag pitstop shortly after left him struggling for grip, and a few excursions onto the increasingly dirty high lines on the banking stymied his progress. An unfortunately timed pitstop ahead of the final caution left Grosjean a lap down.

Graham Rahal and Ed Jones’ crash brought out the first caution period on Lap 3, in which Rahal attempted to pass around the outside as Jones was slightly off-line at the apex.

Gateway IndyCar - Race Results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 260 2:24'10.940  
2 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 260 2:24'11.480 0.539
3 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 260 2:24'16.806 5.866
4 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 260 2:24'17.602 6.662
5 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 260 2:24'18.736 7.796
6 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 260 2:24'19.202 8.261
7 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 260 2:24'24.966 14.025
8 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 260 2:24'26.482 15.542
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 260 2:24'29.708 18.767
10 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 260 2:24'31.061 20.120
11 United States Conor Daly United Kingdom Carlin 260 2:24'33.044 22.103
12 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 260 2:24'35.498 24.558
13 Brazil Tony Kanaan United States Chip Ganassi Racing 260 2:24'37.777 26.836
14 France Romain Grosjean United States Dale Coyne Racing 259 2:24'18.030 1 Lap
15 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 243 2:20'36.545 17 Laps
16 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 211 2:06'47.954 49 Laps
17 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 200 1:53'02.951 60 Laps
18 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 185 1:46'15.783 75 Laps
19 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 100 1:53'13.843 160 Laps
20 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 64 43'29.110 196 Laps
21 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 64 43'29.180 196 Laps
22 United States Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing 54 34'47.886 206 Laps
23 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 4 8'45.490 256 Laps
24 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones United States Dale Coyne Racing 2 57.769 258 Laps
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