Over the past two months, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou has dominated the NTT IndyCar Series. Palou continued his impressive season with yet another victory, this time at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 2.
Although Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal began the race on the front row, Palou found himself on the podium's top step Sunday afternoon.
The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio began with a collision between Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson and Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist.
Without IndyCar’s safety advancements in the past three years, Sunday’s wreck could have left Rosenqvist with a devastating injury. Thanks to the aero screen, the Swedish driver was able to continue after the collision.
Although Rosenqvist was able to finish one lap back of the pack, Ericsson suffered a broken right-front suspension, ending his day. Ericsson entered the weekend trailing Palou in the championship standings by 74 points, but after a last-place finish Ericsson is now fourth in the standings and trails Palou by 122.
After a frightening wreck in race practice July 1, Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was unable to be cleared by doctors to race the next day. Formerly of Ed Carpenter Racing, Conor Daly was called upon to sub for the French driver during the race. Daly kept the No. 60 Honda out of trouble and finished in the 21st position — one spot behind Ed Carpenter Racing’s Ryan Hunter-Reay who replaced Daly earlier this season.
A.J. Foyt Enterprises’ rookie Benjamin Pederson was a main talking point throughout the race, but for the wrong reasons. While Palou was attempting to put Pederson a lap down, the championship leader struggled to clear the rookie.
It’s common for drivers to do their best to hold off the leader while still on the lead lap, but it’s what came after that had drivers frustrated with Pederson. While trying to overtake Pederson, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin struggled to get around the driver of the No. 55 Chevrolet.
After the race, McLaughlin voiced his frustration towards Pederson explaining that the rookie didn’t make any friends with the way he drove. Although it’s understandable to race your hardest against other drivers, Pederson should understand that when you are a lap down, you should let other drivers who are on the lead lap through.
With his fourth victory in the past races and third win in a row, Palou now leads teammate Scott Dixon in the championship standings by 110 points. Although there are still eight races remaining in the season, Palou looks to be on his way to his second championship in three years.
After an intriguing race, IndyCar has this upcoming weekend off before heading north of the border to Toronto, Canada, for the Honda Indy Toronto on July 16.