Newgarden wins at Mid-Ohio to take IndyCar series lead


"When they give me a vehicle like this, it's easier, " Newgarden said of his victory. But neither happened Sunday.

Newgarden started on the front row beside pole sitter Power, but was all over his Penske teammate from the moment the green flag dropped. Having team president Tim Cindric switch from calling the race for Power to serving as Newgarden's strategist helped ease the transition, but also proved how much faith the organization has in him.

Five-time victor Scott Dixon, who came in as the series leader, radioed around lap 40 that something was broken and struggled to a ninth-place finish for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Rahal has six career wins, his first in 2008 at St. Petersburg, Fla., making him the youngest to win an Indy vehicle race (19 years, 93 days). Power and Simon Pagenaud struggled in their first seasons with the team.

There are just four races left in the IndyCar Series.

"It felt like something broke on the vehicle and we made some major front wing adjustments in the race", Dixon said.

Newgarden's margin of victory was 5.1 seconds. Newgarden spent the latter half of the race just ahead of a lapped Esteban Gutierrez, and during the restart he attempted to pass Newgarden, almost causing a crash in the process. Local favorite Graham Rahal took a temporary lead when Newgarden pitted on lap 41, but when Rahal went in the next time around, Newgarden went to the front.

Newgarden moved into the unofficial points lead for the first time this season.

Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport drove his Honda to the third position. Dixon is eight out of the lead.

"Really freakish - right from the get-go", the Kiwi said. Given that Newgarden was running away with the race prior to the yellow flag, it was nearly like order was restored.

Newgarden has the points lead for the first time in his IndyCar career, and he is the first USA -born driver to have the lead since Hunter-Reay midway through the 2014 season.

"You can't rest on previous results at any track".

NOTES: Will Power won the pole, marking the 49th time in his IndyCar career he's done that. Race victor and new points leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske leads Dixon by eight points. We didn't change anything from the morning warmup. Pigot lost control of his auto after hitting the curb in Turn 13, and his correction sent him through the sand trap and into the wall. You have to take each race as it comes and get the most out of it that you can. Seven drivers realistically entered the race as viable contenders and they were all in the top seven on the grid.

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