O’Ward wins at Mid-Ohio


Pato O’Ward claimed the checkered flag Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at the conclusion of the Honda Indy 200.

It was O’Ward’s second win of the year and easily his best finish at Mid-Ohio, where he previously had not finished higher than eighth — his place in both 2021 and 2023.

O’Ward topped pole-sitter Alex Palou by under half a second to earn the win. Those two drivers also were the primary race-leaders in the contest, with Palou holding first place for 53 of 80 laps and O’Ward leading for 24 laps. Third-place finisher Scott McLaughlin led the remaining three laps, while Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top five finishers.

Palou controlled the pace for much of the race, leading for 53 of the first 56 laps, but O’Ward was able to take the advantage on the race’s 57th lap and was able to hold on for the win. All but the first two laps were run under green flag conditions. Multi-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon ran into trouble at the race’s beginning and never was able to work his way back into competition in the race.

Despite finishing second, Palou was able to maintain a notable lead in the IndyCar standings, with 328 points. Will Power is second with 281, with O’Ward, Dixon and Herta also in the top five of the standings.

Many other races were run during the weekend in support of the IndyCar event. Also running on Sunday was the Indy NXT series.

That 35-lap race was won by Caio Collet, who led the entire distance in earning the victory. He was followed by Louis Foster and Jacob Abel. Callum Hedge placed fourth and Christian Brooks took fifth in the 19-car race. Much like the main IndyCar race, most of the NXT event was run under green, with the only yellow flag lasting through the first three laps.

There also were three races in the USF2000 series, as well as two each in the USF Pro 2000 series and USF Juniors series.

The first USF2000 race, which was held Friday, was claimed by Max Taylor, with Max Garcia finishing second and Nicolas Giaffone claiming third place. The second race, held Saturday, had a completely different podium, as Evagoras Papasavvas finished in first place and was followed by second-place Michael Costello and Elliot Cox. Taylor picked up his second win of the weekend on Sunday. Thomas Schrage claimed second place and Sam Sorry ran third.

Both USF Pro 2000 races were held on Saturday, with one being the first event of the morning and the second closing out the afternoon racing. Nikita Johnson took first place in the first race, with Jace Denmark running second and Christian Brooks placing third. In the later race, Johnson repeated at the top of podium, with Denmark getting his second straight runner-up finish and Danny Dyszelski claiming third.

In Friday’s USF Juniors race, the checkered flag went to Taylor, who was followed by Jack Jeffers in second place. The third-place driver was Liam McNeily. On Saturday, McNeily improved to first place. Bruno Ribeiro claimed second place and Ariel Elkin finished in third.

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

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