Photo: Walter G. Arce Sr. /ASP Inc.

DEHARDE: Weird Circumstances Should Not be Mid-Ohio’s Focus

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

A set of circumstances that probably has not happened before in Indy car racing history should not be what defines everybody’s memory of the Honda Indy 200.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is 2.258 miles of hilly, crazy pavement with few passing opportunities. As Scott Dixon’s red alternate sidewall tires began to wear off as the race concluded, several cars one lap down queued up behind the five-time series champion.

They were all as fast, if not faster, than him.

Marco Andretti, Max Chilton and Takuma Sato were ready to pounce but ultimately couldn’t pass the driver with more wins at Mid-Ohio than anybody.

Dixon’s rookie sensation teammate Felix Rosenqvist was in second place and was furious on the radio trying to get Andretti, Chilton and Sato out of the way.

With INDYCAR awarding points throughout the field, those position battles still mattered. Had any of those drivers managed to get themselves back on the lead lap, they could have gained another position if another driver had an issue on the last lap.

Exit Josef Newgarden, stage left.

Newgarden would have finished 15th had any of the trio of lapped cars un-lapped themselves so there were also championship implications there.

But the bigger picture is that the odds of a situation like this happening is extremely remote. Having lapped cars running pretty much on pace with the leader near the end isn’t exactly a common scenario.

It shouldn’t detract from what we saw from Rosenqvist during his last stint of the race as he made up 13 seconds to get to Dixon and make a race out of it.

It was also probably the best drive the rookie has had all year long.

If you didn’t take Rosenqvist seriously until Sunday, you sure as hell do now. If Rosenqvist keeps driving like he did on Sunday, he will win a race before the 2019 Indy car season is done.

Bet on it.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.