By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
LEXINGTON, Ohio — Stockdale, Ohio native Zach Veach managed to score a 10th place finish in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200, his first Verizon IndyCar Series start at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Starting 12th, Veach was in ninth before his first pit stop on Lap 13 as his team committed to a three stop strategy. Veach stayed around the edge of the top-10 during the rest of the race, passing Jordan King for 10th on Lap 50 to solidify his position and Veach never fell below tenth after his third pit stop.
This was Veach’s third top-10 of the season brings the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda unofficially one point away from 16th in the points standings.
“Honestly I think it was a pretty decent day for us,” said Veach. “Just still a little frustrated with yesterday, I think we were definitely well on to having our first Fast Six (appearance) but we got caught out by a red flag and having to start 12th and I think that kind of set the fate of our day a little bit because having no yellows here it was really difficult to really get ahead at all.”
“[I’m] so proud of these guys and congratulations to Alex (Rossi), I think we had a pretty good car today and we did a pretty good job, just needed a little better starting spot.”
Veach has driven at Mid-Ohio during his time in the Mazda Road to Indy and had only one finish outside the top five without a win. Veach, however, wasn’t the highest placed Ohio native.
Graham Rahal started seventh in his No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda and fell back a bit at the start to ninth before Chilton had contact with Rahal’s teammate Takuma Sato. Sato spun and Chilton was penalized for avoidable contact but Rahal was up to seventh again.
Using the same three-stop strategy as Veach, Rahal came out in seventh after his first pit stop but fell back to eighth after his second stop and back to ninth when Sebastien Bourdais went past on Lap 48.
Rahal stayed in ninth the rest of the way.
“I’m disappointed, we just weren’t good enough today,” said Rahal. “The pace just wasn’t there in the car and the rear was so unstable. We struggled with too much oversteer most of the race which put us a ways behind the eight ball. I just couldn’t get close enough to anybody without losing a lot. We had to just manage the rest of the day. I was hoping for a better result for the Fifth Third Bank team.”
Prior to Alexander Rossi’s victory, Rahal was the last Honda driver to win the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in 2015.
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 19th.