Newgarden wins thriller over O’Ward

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden scored his third Texas win under caution after an epic battle with Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou, while Romain Grosjean’s strong drive ended in the wall on the penultimate lap.

Polesitter Felix Rosenqvist didn’t last a lap in the front, the Arrow McLaren losing out to Scott Dixon’s Ganassi entry at the end of the first lap, and then Penske’s Josef Newgarden, and fellow McLaren drivers Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi also demoting him to fifth. Newgarden and Dixon swapped the lead twice before Newgarden moved to the head of the field and eked out a small gap.

O’Ward took second from Dixon on Lap 9, while Alex Palou passed the battling Rossi and Rosenqvist to grab fourth and then moved past teammate Dixon for third.

Behind this sextet, Will Power had passed Takuma Sato for seventh, and the new Ganassi driver fell down the field to 12th. By Lap 28, the third Penske, that of Scott McLaughlin, was up to 13th.

Meanwhile at the front, Newgarden’s lead was out to around a second by Lap 30, with the next nine runners lined up around 0.8sec apart. As they hit traffic, Newgarden’s advantage was slashed but by Lap 40 the gap was back out to 1.5sec.

Grosjean passed Power for seventh on Lap 45, and Power suddenly dropped backward in a hurry. As the pack started to smother him, Sato got out of the groove, went high at Turn 2, struck the outside wall and then speared across the track to strike the inside wall side-on.

In the pitstops under caution, Kyle Kirkwood’s Andretti Autosport car came into his pitbox just as the driver he replaced at AA, Rossi, was sent out of his pitbox. Kirkwood swooped in from the outside ‘fast lane’ and his left rear made contact with Rossi’s right front, whose car needed a new toelink. Race control deemed Rossi’s team at fault for an unsafe release, so he had to take a drive-through penalty when his suspension was fixed.

Newgarden, O’Ward, Palou, Dixon and Rosenqvist retained the top five positions but Grosjean was up to sixth ahead of teammate Colton Herta. Scott McLaughlin was the big winner, up to eighth ahead of Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, while Devlin DeFrancesco was up to 10th.

Malukas of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD was into 11th, while Power was only 12th, which considering he pitted in 16th, showed the #12 crew was as on point as teammate McLaughlin’s.

The Lap 60 restart saw Newgarden appear to make a break, but Palou jumped O’Ward and was swiftly onto Newgarden’s tail. The pair ran side-by-side for two laps, Palou then dropped back, then pounced again to snatch the lead, but only for two laps before Newgarden wrested the lead back.

Another man moving forward was Grosjean who tried to take O’Ward for third but then eased back, remaining ahead of Dixon, and the battling Herta and McLaughlin…

Read More: Newgarden wins thriller over O’Ward 2023-04-02 18:27:21

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