Home Road to IndyIndy Nxt O’Ward holds off title rival Herta in first Mid-Ohio Indy Lights race

O’Ward holds off title rival Herta in first Mid-Ohio Indy Lights race

by Ida Wood

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway / LLC Photography

Patricio O’Ward held off title rival Colton Herta to win the opening Indy Lights race at Mid-Ohio.

Andretti Autosport driver O’Ward took his seventh pole of the season in qualifying, and immediately distanced himself in the race.

Ryan Norman initially held second place, but after being barged out of the way at the exit of The Keyhole hairpin by Andretti team-mate Herta dropped down the order.

Herta, who is still recovering from a fractured thumb sustained in a crash last time out at Toronto, managed to stay within 1.5 seconds of O’Ward for much of the race, and was then brought onto the leader’s tail when a caution period was required while Aaron Telitz’s Belardi Auto Racing car was removed from the gravel.

O’Ward judged the restart well, and only came back under pressure from Herta in the last two laps. The closeness of the two cars and the dirty air caused by the leader made it difficult for Herta to pass, and they finished the race just 0.6s apart.

There is now 25 points between the pair at the top of the standings, a gap which Herta will not be able to overcome in the second Mid-Ohio race, which O’Ward also starts from pole.

Dalton Kellett started sixth and ran in fifth until Telitz crashed and his BAR team-mate Santiago Urrutia pitted for fresher tyres. The Canadian has never finished higher than fifth on a road course before, but did well to hold off Juncos Racing driver Victor Franzoni to complete the podium.

Norman and Urrutia finished a distant fifth and sixth, with Urrutia’s tyre gamble failing after being speared off by Norman in the closing stages of the race.

Urrutia’s pit under caution put him at the back of the six car restart, and he struggled to make it past Franzoni. Once Norman was shuffled down the order he thought he’d have some success, but his one attempt at a move was scuppered when Norman caught the inside kerbs at Turn 4, failing to turn in to the corner and going straight into Urrutia.

Telitz managed to get back on track, but finished a twice lapped seventh.


Race results (30 laps)
Pos Name Team Time
1 Patricio O’Ward Andretti Autosport 38m32.497s
2 Colton Herta Andretti Steinbrenner Racing +0.6361s
3 Dalton Kellett Andretti Autosport +11.8170s
4 Victor Franzoni Juncos Racing +12.5038s
5 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport +36.0341s
6 Santiago Urrutia Belardi Auto Racing +56.1149s
7 Aaron Telitz Belardi Auto Racing +2 laps
Pole: O’Ward, 1m11.3118s? ? ? Fastest lap: O’Ward, 1m12.232s

Championship Standings
1?O’Ward 363? ?2?Herta 338? ?3?Urrutia 306? ?4 Franzoni 264? ?5 Norman 247? ?6 Telitz 236??7?Kellett 233? ?8?Shelby Blackstock 42? ?9?Neil Alberico 31? ?10?Alfonso Celis 27