Penske-Chevrolet’s McLaughlin started from pole, teammate Power was firmly off pole in his slipstream, but Christian Lundgaard kept haunting them and rounded the periphery of Power to finish second, while Top Pato O’Ward started in the tougher Firestone primaries and passed Alex Palou for fourth ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.
After Palou, David Malukas jumped to sixth place Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi ahead of the main players of Felix Rosenqvist and Andretti Autosport.
One driver who struggled to get the tires warm was Josef Newgarden, who slipped from penalized 8th to 11th on lap 4, behind Graham Rahal.
On lap 6, McLaughlin was 3 seconds ahead of Lundgaard, Power was a further 1.1 seconds behind, but 1.7 seconds ahead of O’Ward, who was struggling to keep his more tired car ahead of what looked menacing of Palu and Malukas. Scott Dixon has moved up to No. 14, but Ganassi’s teammate Marcus Ericsson has slipped to No. 19.
Dixon, who started from the primary, pitted on lap 13, while Newgarden stopped a lap later. Perhaps surprisingly, Palou also pitted at the end of lap 15, as did Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet’s Rinus VeeKay.
Power pitted from third at the end of lap 17 with a set of frayed Reds, while Oward pitted a lap later to face his first set of Reds people team.
McLaughlin went into lap 21 before pit stop, Lundgaard stopped a lap later, but a slight delay in fuel and some strong over laps from Power meant he was behind On the 12th Penske.
McLaughlin was 5 seconds ahead of the unstopped Ericsson on lap 28 of 110 and Power had to try not to get too close to Ericsson or he might burn his tires, but also Lundgard in his mirror. RLL’s great Dane was 5 seconds ahead of O’Ward, who was 2.3 seconds ahead of Palou.
For the Reds, the early stop worked well for Newgarden, who now leads Rahal, Herta and Rossi, although the early stop also saw Dixon move up to 11th, barely Blocked VeeKay.
Ericsson finally made a pit stop at the end of lap 31, but the tactics didn’t work and he started to fall on the 18th. Meanwhile, Power trailed McLaughlin by nearly 8 seconds and led by 1.4 seconds against Lundgaard, who was gradually being caught up by O’Ward.
By lap 40, the main track action was a dispute between Palau, Newgarden and Lahal for fifth place, on lap 42, Newgarden was on the back straight A very clean entry into Turn 10 and a fifth place saw the Ganassi driver struggle to fend off Rahal. His effort was successful in just one lap, as the RLL driver raced past him in the same spot. Palau then pitted.
Up front, Power cut McLaughlin’s lead to 5.5 seconds and extended his lead over Lundgaard to over 6 seconds, with the #30 RLL car now less than one point ahead of Oward second.
Newgarden pitted from 5th on lap 45, in the same lap as Dixon, against the scrubbed reds. A lap later, Lundgaard pitted off his worn red and grabbed a set of primary tires.
McLaughlin and Power stopped for the main tire on lap 47, followed by O’ Ward, whose AMSP team put him ahead of Lundgaard, who was struggling to make His black primaries heat up. Now that Oward is back on the Red Square, he will try to cut the eight-second advantage to Ball, although he will also have to get past the again late Ericsson, also on a softer substitute. Ericsson will make a pit stop on lap 54.
Unlike his teammates, Newgarden was on the Red Square and made the most of them, catching Lundgard’s tail, and he calmly passed him on lap 55 for 55th four.
On lap 60, five minutes into the half, McLaughlin led Power by 4.9 seconds, but the pair were dragged in by O’Ward and Newgarden, trailing 2.2 and 4.3 seconds respectively
Lundgaard was another five seconds behind and a similar distance ahead of teammate Rahal, who had Rossi filling his mirrors, with Dixon, Herta and VeeKay following. Palau lost time on the 11th reporting a problem with the rear of his car.
On lap 67, Oward was Power second in 1 minute, with Newgarden just two seconds behind. After leveling within 4.4 seconds of McLaughlin, Power was briefly hampered by lapped Jimmie Johnson, but at Turn 1 over the No. 48 Ganassi, Power earned himself some breathing room as O’Ward made it to the straight After beating Johnson,
However, the bench is not looking better than the primary now, Oward and Newgarden are starting to lose a tenth or two, Ball is now behind McLaugh Im 4 seconds.
Rossi was the first driver in the top 10 to complete the final leg at the end of lap 77, with Lundgaard, Dixon, VeeKay and Palou following a lap later. Sadly, Lundgaard stopped it when he tried to leave.
McLaughlin, Power, O’Ward, Newgarden, Rahal, and Herta stop next time, and they’re still in that order, but in condensed form. McLaughlin lost time in his lap when Rosenquist appeared ahead of him from his last stop, so when the top four appeared, McLaughlin had a 1.4-second lead over Ball. . Interestingly, Newgarden picked the primary in his final race: will that pay off in the final laps?
Power had dropped McLaughlin’s lead to 1 second when VeeKay misjudged when the first warning of the day came flying Johnson made a rolling action close to Turn 1 , took a step back before he cleaned up the Ganassi car. Instead, he shoved Johnson against the wall, breaking the NASCAR legend’s timeout, so he slid into the tiebreaker at Turn 1.
After a barrage of stops, Rossi moved up to 5th ahead of Dixon, Rahal, Herta and VeeKay, while Lundgaard’s stall dropped him to 10th th, although still ahead of Palou.
At the restart on lap 90, O’Ward tried to stop Power in Turn 1 but instead nudged Penske, wheel to wheel. Just behind them, Dixon eluded Newgarden and Rossi as they battled for fourth place, with Newgarden regretting his choice of the primary. Then, when O’Ward lost momentum with a failed Power pass, Dixon was now trailing behind them as they left Turn 3. The AMSP driver moved right to turn 4 to block Dixon and curb his momentum, so Race Control ordered to give way to the six-time champion.
Behind them, Newgarden lost to Rossi, Herta, Rahal and Lundgaard, but regained a spot when Lundgaard had to pit. He had been arguing with Rossi who dropped the wheel off the track, but when he tried to push the Andretti driver into Turn 1, he ran for a long time and was in the runoff Collected a sign and need to pit.
On lap 100, with 10 seconds left, McLaughlin was 1.6 seconds ahead of Power and Power was 0.9 seconds ahead of the superb Dixon, from 16 Departure. O’Ward suffered sidebox damage when he hit Power and is now 5 seconds behind Dixon with Rahal, Herta and Rossi piling up behind him.
With three laps to go, the top three are equidistant, 1.3 seconds apart, and Oward is still struggling to grab fourth from the injured Oward. Power did everything in their power to close the gap, but looked at the bigger picture and left number one rivals Dixon behind.
McLaughlin had his third win of the year ahead of Dixon by 1.2 seconds and Power 0.4 seconds, and he may have been satisfied with his excellent driving.
Oward was fourth ahead of Lahal, Hertha and Rossi, while Newgarden was eighth ahead of the impressive Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilot , and Rosenqvist.
Ericsson and Palou were awarded 11 and 12 respectively, Palou is now unable to retain his title. Oward is also out now.