Nico Jamin won for Andretti Autosport at Mid-Ohio after teammate Colton Herta and championship leader Kyle Kaiser made seemingly elementary errors.
While everyone was expecting the front-row starters Colton Herta and Santi Urrutia to clash on the opening lap, it was Herta’s Andretti Autosport teammate Jamin who proved the beneficiary by default when Herta spun all by himself on Lap 3 at Turn 9, while leading.
Jamin grabbed the lead and by Lap 5 had a 1.6sec margin over Urrutia, who had already dropped Belardi Auto Racing teammate Shelby Blackstock by 2.5sec. Carlin Racing’s lead representative Zachary Claman de Melo was pressuring him, and the pair were pulling away from Juncos Racing pair Nicolas Dapero and Kyle Kaiser who in the early stages of the race were split by Juan Piedrahita of Team Pelfrey.
Astonishingly, Kaiser then made his first significant mistake of the season on Lap 13. As Piedrahita briefly went offline to try a pass on Dapero, Kaiser stuck his car’s nose in an already closing door, and the championship leader made hard contact with the Pelfrey car, spinning them both around and falling to 11th and 12th.
Dapero, then also briefly went off and suddenly Aaron Telitz made it three Belardi cars in the top five.
More significantly for the championship – which Kaiser could have all-but-won this weekend – Herta was making decent progress after his earlier faux-pas and was up to ninth, ahead of the other title contender, Matheus Leist. On Lap 30, Herta got around Alberico to gain eighth, then by one of his own teammates Ryan Norman to gain seventh, then past Dapero on Lap 33.
Meanwhile, Urrutia had been gaining significantly on leader Jamin, cutting the lead to 0.7sec before the Frenchman responded with his fastest lap of the race. But the lead remained under one second thereafter, the pair of them 10-plus seconds up the road from Blackstock.
Urrutia had a long look around the outside of Jamin at Turn 4 on Lap 35 but didn’t have a hope of making it stick.
He never got so close again, and finished the race half a second behind Jamin, who clinched his third win of the season, and his sixth win in seven Mazda Road To Indy starts at Mid-Ohio.
Blackstock finished third, 13 seconds behind, having held off Claman De Melo by 0.44sec. Telitz was 10.8sec behind the Carlin driver, and only 1.8sec ahead of the charging Herta.
Urrutia is now joint second in the championship with Herta, but they're 42 points behind Kaiser with just two rounds to go.