The 2022 edition of the Honda Indy 200 was certainly one to remember at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with fireworks in full display both on and off track. Here are my five takeaways from the ninth round of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season.
1. Inner Turmoil at Andretti Autosport
Andretti Autosport had perhaps one of the largest organizational collapses of any team in IndyCar racing. Between all four drivers having contact and strategy miscues on Colton Herta’s timing stand, it was a race that team owner Michael Andretti will want to forget.
The on-track fall out of contention for Andretti started with contact between Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean. The pair had contact two laps in a row at the Keyhole. The second time around, Grosjean’s car went through the grass and lightly hit a tire barrier. With a stalled car, the exasperated Swiss-born Frenchman let out a tirade over the team’s radio questioning Rossi’s moves on him. After Grosjean later had contact with Herta at the Keyhole and Rossi had contact with fellow Andretti Autosport driver Devlin DeFrancesco at Turn 6, both Grosjean and Rossi were called to serve drive-thru penalties in the pit lane within the race’s final 10 laps.
The only bright spot for the team came when Hunter McElrea had a grand slam win in the Indy Lights race earlier on race day as he won from pole, led every lap and had the race’s fastest lap.
Romain Grosjean on his race today and the contact with Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta:#Honda200 #IndyCar pic.twitter.com/96m0OKbUuZ
— Christopher DeHarde (@CDeHarde) July 3, 2022
2. Fallen Arrows
Arrow McLaren SP qualified on pole position with Pato O’Ward and also started fourth with driver Felix Rosenqvist. O’Ward ended up 24th and Rosenqvist finished last as both cars having dropped out of the race with mechanical failures. O’Ward reported an engine issue in the morning warm-up session but the team said that a team member (likely a Chevrolet performance engineer) knew the problem. O’Ward mentioned afterward that the problem he had was likely a fuel delivery issue. Meanwhile, Rosenqvist only managed seven laps before retiring.
3. A ‘Power’ Performance
Will Power spun on the first lap of the race while trying to get 17th place. After falling back to last (27th), the 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner went through the field and with the help of some yellow flags and managed to finish on the final step of the podium in third place. Without the qualifying penalty for impeding Helio Castroneves, there’s little doubting Power’s chances of winning the race if he had better starting position simply due to the pace alone. Power’s fastest lap in the first round of qualifying was the fastest lap turned all weekend long.
4. Rowe-ing Right Along
Moving to the Road to Indy, Myles Rowe put together a nearly perfect weekend in USF2000 with two wins and a third place finish out of three races. The Atlanta native currently living in New York City has a 12 point lead over Michael d’Orlando as the series heads to Toronto in two weeks. Rowe started the 2022 USF2000 season on shaky financial ground with Pabst Racing, but has secured backing for the rest of the season with Augie Pabst’s Wisconsin-based team.
5. A Rough Outing for Rookies
Almost every rookie at Mid-Ohio struggled at some point during the weekend. Between David Malukas’s qualifying troubles at the end of round two, Callum Ilott, Tatiana Calderon and Kyle Kirkwood’s mechanical failures and DeFrancesco’s contact with Alexander Rossi, the only rookie that left Mid-Ohio unscathed was Christian Lundgaard, and that’s after some small contact with Simon Pagenaud. However, Malukas did earn the the first top 10 of his career after recording a ninth-place finish.
On a side note, Lundgaard leads the Rookie of the Year points by 14 over Malukas.