Dixon wins from back of grid at Mid-Ohio
3 August 2014 – Scott Dixon pulled off a fine recovery drive to win the Honda Indy 200 from the back of the grid, his fifth victory in eight visits to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and his first of the 2014 season. Pole-sitter Sébastien Bourdais took second, while James Hinchcliffe also made sizeable progress to complete the podium.
Sunday afternoon's race got off to a dramatic start when Tony Kanaan made contact with Josef Newgarden under braking for Turn 4, effectively the first corner of the race after a late change to the starting procedure.
Whilst Newgarden kept his car facing the right way to follow pole-sitter Bourdais through, Kanaan spun in the middle of the track – Marco Andretti was unable to react in time, resulting in a double race-ending collision.
Bourdais led from Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the early stages, but the latter was ejected from the fight at the opening round of stops when he picked up a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
The situation got even worse for Hunter-Reay when, just a few laps after stopping for fuel and fresh rubber, he lost control of his Andretti machine at Turn 11, resulting in a wild spin and signalling another caution period.
This was inadvertently decisive for Dixon. On an opposing strategy, the Ganassi man – battling his way through after a mistake in Saturday's wet qualifying session – opted to stay out as the majority of the field pitted.
At the restart, Dixon led from Bourdais, whilst Carlos Muñoz held third after getting the jump on Newgarden.
On fresh reds, Newgarden embarked on a charge, re-passing Muñoz and Bourdais at the Keyhole on consecutive laps, before reeling in Dixon – on the same tyres but having completed eight more laps.
But despite quickly eroding the current champion's lead gap, Newgarden was unable to make a move stick.
And Newgarden's hopes of claiming a maiden victory were cruelly dashed at the final stops, with his car clipping a wheel gun and tripping a crew member. A drive-through penalty followed and he would ultimately finish 12th.
As the field filtered back into position, Dixon found himself with a comfortable advantage over Bourdais. His lead never came under threat in the late stages and duly yielded a first triumph since last year's Houston round.
Bourdais fended off Hinchcliffe – who started 17th – for second, with Muñoz and Graham Rahal close behind.
With Penske team-mate Hélio Castroneves entering the race a few laps down after hitting an electrical problem during the warm-up laps, Will Power moved into the championship lead courtesy of his sixth place finish.
Charlie Kimball and Ryan Briscoe were next up, with Simon Pagenaud and Hunter-Reay – who was ultimately able to get going again and unlap himself during an extended caution period – completing the top 10.
In addition to Kanaan and Andretti, Sebastián Saavedra retired from the race amid technical trouble.
The next round of the IndyCar season takes place in Milwaukee on the weekend of August 16-17