Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: O’Ward leads Andretti Autosport 1-2-3
Patricio O’Ward scored his sixth win of the year in Mid-Ohio’s first Indy Lights race of the weekend, but worked hard in the closing stages of the race to stave off the challenge of teammate Colton Herta in the Andretti Steinbrenner entry.
The event initially evolved into two races – polesitter O’Ward leading teammates Ryan Norman and Herta in one group, and then the other four led by Santi Urrutia, who got around Belardi Auto Racing teammate Aaron Telitz.
These four rapidly fell away from the leading trio, Telitz remaining in Urrutia’s mirrors until on Lap 14 he spun down to seventh and last behind Dalton Kellett in the fourth Andretti Autosport car, and Victor Franzoni in the Juncos Racing entry.
Telitz then compounded his misery by spinning again, and this time he needed a tow-out under caution. (Up to that point of the race the lead trio had pulled a dozen seconds on their ‘opposition’.) Belardi smartly tried to take advantage of the situation by pitting Urrutia for seven-lap-old tires, so he’d rejoin sixth with much fresher rubber than his opposition with 10 laps to go.
Unfortunately, the team’s wisdom didn’t help. Norman made a dreadful restart, losing positions to Herta, Kellett and Franzoni on that opening restart lap, dropping him to fifth. When Urrutia tried to demote him further by passing around the outside of Norman at Turn 4, the Andretti car clipped the inside curb and nudged him out into the Belardi car, the pair of them looping off the track. Norman kept his engine alive, but was given a drive-through penalty but that didn’t prevent him still beating Urrutia who initially stalled following the impact but then bumpstarted on the downhill section.
Kellett held on to score his first ever podium finish on a road course, ahead of Franzoni.
O’Ward now leads Herta in the championship battle by 25 points.
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|Location||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course|