Charlie Kimball claimed his first ever IZOD IndyCar Series win at Mid Ohio, fending off a strong Simon Pagenaud to finish five and a half seconds ahead of the Frenchman.
From the start Penske's Will Power applied the pressure on pole sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay but the 2012 series champion kept ahead. However Power kept Hunter-Reay honest, staying around about a second off the Andretti Autosport driver throughout the first 30 laps when the pair pitted, along with third placed Scott Dixon.
The pitstops didn't do too much for the order for those three with only at the front Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe and Simon Pagenaud ahead of the former leaders, with the new having pitted earlier.
Kimball had a twelve and a half second lead of Pagenaud when he pulled in for stop number two on the forty first lap. Such was the Anglo-American's lead before he pitted, he only dropped one position - To Pagenaud who would hand the lead back to Kimball when he pitted himself on lap 47.
Kimball continued to lead as the race progressed, amassing a lead of over four seconds by the time he made his third pitstop with 25 laps to go.
After dropping out of the lead earlier, Ryan Hunter-Reay's third pitstop caused more problems for his race as he missed his marks in the tight pit box, meaning that the refuelling man had difficulty getting the hose into the car.
Remarkably, the race stayed caution free for a long while. Tony Kanaan
grinded to a halt on lap 66 but even that couldn't bring out the yellow
flag as the veteran Brazilian parked his car well off the track on the
With Simon Pagenaud still not making his final pitstop, he held the lead as the race approached 20 laps remaining. He pitted two laps later but held onto the lead after Kimball had to use several push-to-passes to keep ahead of the lapped EJ Viso. Kimbal took the lead with his final pish-to-pass but Pagenaud still had five remaining.
However Pagenaud couldn't capitalise on the advantage and Charlie Kimball took his first ever IndyCar win. Kimball's win came in his 45th start and the win was Ganassi's fifth in as many years. Pagenaud took second and Kimball's Ganassi teammate Dario Franchitti finished third. Will Power and Ryan-Hunter-Reay completed the top five.
Series debutants James Davison and Luca Filippi both had strong races, finishing 15th and 16th respectively.
A sixth place for Helio Castroneves allowed him to maintain his lead in the points standings. Scott Dixon remains in second, 31 points adrift. Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti hold third and fourth whilst Simon Pagenaud sits in fifth.
The next race in the IZOD IndyCar Series is the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway on the 25th August. Last years winner Ryan Briscoe will be hoping his broken wrist has healed in time for him to defend his race win. Meanwhile Penske will be aiming to win their fourth race in four years at the Californian circuit.
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