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Herta takes the victory in a crazy wet-dry-wet race

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With a wet race declared on the wet track, the drivers seemed very hesitant in the three warm-up laps, looking for puddles and trying to discover possible overtaking zones. Drying lines were emerging on both the front and back straights, the track temperature was rising to 87°F, but turns 7 through 10 still looked treacherous.

The start was very clean, but Will Power was passed on both sides by Alex Palou (outside) and Josef Newgarden on the inside at Turn 7, while Pato O’Ward slipped behind them.

He was ready to pounce on Palou on the outside of the final corner as Power dove around the inside of Newgarden to reclaim third, sending the #2 car into the turf.

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Power then went wide at the Turn 5 chicane, allowing Felix Rosenqvist to move up to third, with the Swede closing on Palou’s tail to turn him into an Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet 1-2.

Colton Herta, who started 14the and Takuma Sato who started 13the, had less to lose than most, faced alternate Firestone red tires on Lap 3. O’Ward followed suit the next time around, as did Power, Conor Daly and Newgarden of the early starters. Herta’s pace was so strong on the slicks that he gained ground on the leaders, he overtook Power as the polesitter was coming out of the pits and with a lap of temperature in his tyres, he stopped behind O’Ward. He then saved a long, full opposing lock slide through Turn 8 and then passed O’Ward to take the lead.

Then the full caution came out on lap 8. Kyle Kirkwood spun but got his AJ Foyt-Chevy going again, but Alex Palou lost it at turn 4 and spun onto the grass. He kept the engine running and rejoined the runway, but stalled when he tried to restart and required rescue. The AMR safety team restarted it and headed to the pits, and then resumed, albeit now one lap down.

On the lap 11 restart, Herta got the jump chased by the two McLarens, Power, Daly and Newgarden. Daly held off the two-time champion’s Penske-Chevy until ordered to save fuel, the Ed Carpenter Racing team willing to try to run this race in just three stops, despite an early switch from wet tires to slicks.

That allowed Newgarden, Sato, Alexander Rossi, Jack Harvey and Scott McLaughlin to get through.

However, Newgarden’s career would not last much longer. Sato went down the inside at Turn 9 to claim fifth place, and his lost momentum allowed Rossi to draw alongside him on the outside of Turn 10, the pair making contact, losing momentum and allowing Jack Harvey to get to the tail of Joseph. The Penske car got squeezed between Rossi and Harvey and spun, eventually coming to rest on the exit of Turn 12.

Under the subsequent yellow flag, Marcus Ericsson, Palou and Kirkwood, who had suffered a second spin, pitted.

The restart was clean up front, Herta leading O’Ward and Rosenqvist, while behind them Sato dove down the inside of Power to claim fourth at Turn 1. All was going well until Turn 1 when Rinus VeeKay in the second ECR car, which had been ordered to give up a place to Romain Grosjean for blocking the Frenchman, fell to the grass exiting Turn 1 and rejoined the track at a lopsided angle and vulnerable to the next pack. Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco was the unlucky driver to box in and hit the errant VeeKay, who limped to the pits. He got the caution for the third time.

The next restart on lap 25 was a clean one across the field, and this time O’Ward wasn’t going to let Herta go, staying within a second of the Andretti Autosport driver, with Rosenqvist happy to run a further second behind, a similar distance ahead of

Sato, who had beaten Power by 1.5 seconds.

Power had to watch his mirrors to see if Rossi was aggressive, but in fact it was Rossi who was passed by Jack Harvey’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda on Lap 30 heading into Turn 1. Harvey then passed Power, who also quickly lost a place to Rossi.

Herta set his fastest lap of the race before pitting on lap 32 for new reds, with Sato also stopping that lap. The next time, there was O’Ward, Rossi and Power (these last two with very slow stops). Rosenqvist and Harvey took one more lap.

Rosenqvist exited the pitlane alongside Herta on track, but Herta had the inside for lap 2 and seized the net lead. However, Rosenqvist jumped on his teammate O’Ward. Scott Dixon, who had started 21St., ran out of fuel trying to do another lap and slid down the pitlane, requiring a push. At the same time, Dalton Kellett spun his Foyt’s car onto the grass at Turn 6 and needed to be rescued. Hour of the fourth yellow.

Up front, out of strategy, Ericsson and Kirkwood ran first and second, having run 22nd and 17th probably waiting for the imminent return of the rain. Behind them Dixon ran a lap back.

Ganassi and Andretti expected it to rain again as Rossi, Palou and DeFrancesco pitted on wet tyres. It seemed like an inspired choice because, sure enough, he came back during the yellow card.

The lap 42 restart went horribly wrong, as O’Ward hit teammate Rosenqvist inside and then tried to take Herta under braking. Forced to turn too sharply, he spun and slammed his front wing into teammate Rosenqvist. O’Ward got back on track unassisted, but Rosenqvist stalled. Sato dove to the grass to avoid them, but then Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda spun when he hit the tarmac again.

Under this fifth caution, Kirkwood stopped for wet tyres, as did Christian Lundgaard, leaving Ericsson in front, somewhat protected from Herta by Dixon’s lap. Behind Herta were McLaughlin, Harvey and Grosjean.

On the lap 46 restart, Dixon took off the lap and walked away, while Herta dove into the inside of Ericsson at Turn 4 and Ganassi’s car then went into a tailspin, while Simon Pagenaud moved his Meyer Shank Racing -Honda passing Power.

Herta then put Dixon back one lap back, overtook him and pulled away, chased by McLaughlin, Harvey, Grosjean, Pagenaud, Power and a recovering O’Ward.

At Turn 1, Grosjean tried to pass Harvey for third around the outside of Turn 7, but he ran out and spun, and Pagenaud passed them both. Power then tried to take Harvey around the outside of Turn 1, but was pushed broadside by the RLL car and the Penske driver lost a spot to O’Ward. One lap later, the orange AMSP car passed Harvey for fourth place. Since the rain did not materialize in time, the bet on the wet ones of Palou, Rossi, etc. had to look for more Firestone reds.

O’Ward passed Pagenaud for third on lap 55, and on the next lap Callum Ilott’s Hollinger-Chevy Juncos passed Power for sixth, just before the sixth caution of the day for Jimmie Johnson who he spun and stopped his Carvana Ganassi car.

When the pits opened on lap 59, the leaders dove into the pits and everyone chose slicks despite the rain pouring down a bit harder. McLaughlin’s team took him out before Herta, followed by O’Ward, Pagenaud, Harvey, Power, Ilott and Grosjean.

VeeKay then spun and stalled his ECR car under caution, and in the extended yellow period several of the leaders came back for a wet change. The ones without included McLaughlin, O’Ward and Grosjean, who were now running 1-2-3, though Grosjean was sent behind Power by Race Control, and McLaughlin spun under caution and dropped to sixth.

O’Ward was leading on the restart, with the AMSP car temporarily protected by Jimmie Johnson, but Herta went straight past Ganassi’s car and overtook O’Ward at Turn 1. Behind them, McLaughlin spun into Turn 3 .and stopped, and Dixon, Tatiana Calderón and Rossi had to drive into the sand trap to avoid it, though they all single-handedly regained the track.

This was now a two-hour timed race, and as the rain continued, O’Ward bravely chose to stay out on slick tyres, and then spun under caution at Turn 1 with eight minutes to go, dropping to fourth, which allowed Pagenaud and Power to enter. Herta’s tail. O’Ward then chose to pit on the restart.

Herta, Pagenaud and Power escaped on the restart with seven minutes to go, while Daly prevented Juan Pablo Montoya from going into Turn 1. However, he was unable to hold off Ericsson, who took fourth place, while his fellow Swede Rosenqvist demoted Montoya to claim sixth place. Then JPM hit a wall, yellow came out and that was effectively the end of the race.

Herta thus added the seventh victory of his career, after leading 50 of the 75 pedestrian laps. Pagenaud earned his best finish yet for the Meyer Shank Racing team, and Power posted his fifth consecutive top-four finish and took the championship lead.

Sato took seventh place ahead of Ilott, who was rammed by Lundgaard as they passed the checkered flag.

P

Name

laps

difference

holes

He directed

Motor

Team

one

colton hertha

75

4

fifty

sling

Andretti Autosport

two

Simon Pagenaud

75

3.0983

4

sling

Meyer cane racing

3

willpower

75

7.1538

4

Hunt

Team Penske

4

marcus ericsson

75

7.8193

6

10

sling

Chip Ganassi Racing

5

conor daly

75

9.6535

4

Hunt

carpenter ed racing

6

Felix Rosenqvist

75

11.0949

5

4

Hunt

McLaren SP Arrow

7

takuma sato

75

11.4814

4

sling

Dale Coyne Racing with RWR

8

callum ilott

75

11.5104

5

Hunt

Hollinger Racing Junks

9

Christian Lundgaard

75

11.8047

6

sling

Rahal Letterman Lanigan careers

10

Scott Dixon

75

13.9916

3

sling

Chip Ganassi Racing

eleven

alexander rossi

75

16.7300

5

sling

Andretti Autosport

12

david malukas

75

17.9817

5

sling

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

13

Jack Harvey

75

19.5748

4

sling

Rahal Letterman Lanigan careers

14

Helio Castroneves

75

24.4881

4

sling

Meyer cane racing

fifteen

Tatiana Calderon

74

48.6230

5

one

Hunt

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

sixteen

graham rahal

74

64.7127

5

sling

Rahal Letterman Lanigan careers

17

Romain Grosjean

74

1 turns

5

sling

Andretti Autosport

18

Alex Palou

74

1 turns

7

sling

Chip Ganassi Racing

19

Duck O’Ward

74

68.7936

4

5

Hunt

McLaren SP Arrow

twenty

scott mclaughlin

74

70.9931

4

5

Hunt

Team Penske

twenty-one

Francesco Devlin

73

2 TURNS

5

sling

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

22

John Paul Montoya

72

Contact

4

Hunt

McLaren SP Arrow

23

jimmy johnson

72

2 TURNS

6

sling

Chip Ganassi Racing

24

Rinus VeeKay

72

in hole

6

Hunt

carpenter ed racing

25

Joseph Newgarden

59

15 LAPS

5

Hunt

Team Penske

26

Kyle Kirkwood

53

Contact

5

Hunt

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

27

Dalton Kellett

3. 4

Contact

two

Hunt

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

sniloans