IndyCar | Mid-Ohio | Race | O’Ward fends off Palou in tense battle for victory

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Travis Hinkle
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David Malukas stalled as the drivers set off on the formation lap, but he was able to reclaim his P3 spot.

There was a disaster for Scott Dixon as he stopped on the formation laps. The 6-time champion came to a halt at turn 5.

The race eventually got going on lap 3, with the top 4 holding position. McLaughlin jumped Ericsson but couldn’t quite pass Herta.

Rasmussen and Lundgaard jumped Alexander Rossi early on, with Lundqvist completing the top 10.

Felix Rosenqvist had a great start, moving up five spots in the first six laps, including passing the Penskes of Power and Newgarden.

Newgarden, Armstrong, Lundqvist, Rosenqvist, Siegel, Rahal, VeeKay, Fittipaldi and Simpson pitted early, making it clear they were going on a 3-stop at that stage.

On lap 28, David Malukas, who was running P3, stalled on pit road, losing valuable time and dropping to 13th.

A great first stint by Scott McLaughlin saw him extend, and he New Zealander managed to overcut Colton Herta.

Palou, O’Ward, McLaughlin, Herta, Newgarden, Ericsson, Rasmussen, Armstrong, Lundqvist and Rosenqvist was the top 10 after everyone stopped once.

Newgarden boxed for a second time at the end of lap 36, coming out behind debutant Toby Sowery.

In the battle for P4, Marcus Ericsson easily passed teammate Colton Herta.

At the end of lap 54, Pato O’Ward pitted. The Mexican closed a 6s gap to Palou to nothing as the Arrow McLaren driver was far quicker on the reds. Palou responded a lap later, but he was slow to get out of his box and lost the lead.

At turn 11, Josef Newgarden lost the car as he touched the big kerb on the left hand side, ended up on the grass but managed to avoid spinning.

O’Ward led Palou, McLaughlin, Ericsson, Herta, Rossi, Lundgaard, Kirkwood, Rasmussen and Ferrucci after the final round of stops.

Newgarden was P11 following his third stop but sped in the pits twice, forcing him to serve two drive-through penalties.

Herta was faster than Ericsson in the final stint, reclaiming 4th position.

With less than 5 laps to go, Romain Grosjean spun at turn 9 to throw a top 15 result away.

Despite the traffic of Canapino and Simpson, O’Ward held off Palou to take his first on track victory since Iowa in 2022. Penske’s Scott McLaughlin completed the podium.

Herta, Ericsson, Rossi, Lundgaard, Kirkwood, Rasmussen and Ferrucci completed the top 10.

Championship contender Will Power was 11th, with Scott Dixon returning to the track but finishing last.