By: Spencer Neff
July 28, 2019 | 11:57 AM
An eventful weekend for points leader Josef Newgarden continued during the morning warmup.
In the final 30-minute practice for this afternoon’s Honda Indy 200 at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the 2017 race winner led the session with a best lap of 1m6.6442 (121.973 mph). For today’s race, the Team Penske driver starts third.
Slotting in just 0.2585 seconds behind Newgarden was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist. Three years after first testing an IndyCar at Mid-Ohio with CGR, Rosenqvist starts sixth.
In the warmup, he was the fastest rookie and Honda-powered entry. Following Rosenqvist, Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta joined his fellow Rookie of the Year contender in the Top three.
Prior to the warmup, Herta led the previous two practice sessions. In fourth, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot joined Newgarden as the only Chevrolet drivers to run in the Top 13.
After winning this race in 2018, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi ran fifth. On the heels of his announced contract extension, Rossi starts beside pole sitter Will Power in the race.
Less than 24 hours after notching his 57th career pole, Team Penske’s Will Power ran 19th among the 23 cars set to run today.
Teams Focusing on Race Strategy
As is typically the case for the morning warmup on race day, teams utilized the 30-minute session to finalize plans for this afternoon’s race.
Last year, Rossi stretched his fuel load and tires on just two stops to win the race. Even more intriguing about his strategy was that the race went caution-free.
After starting 24th in the same race, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Sebastien Bourdais completed a thrilling drive from 24th to sixth. During today’s warmup, Bourdais ran a session-high 25 laps.
In fact, 18 drivers completed at least 20 circuits in the session. Completing the fewest was Marco Andretti, as the Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian driver ran just 17 laps.
For today’s race, managing both the primary and alternate Firestone tires will be paramount for any strategy to work.
Tune in today for the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 4:00 PM Eastern on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network. At 4:05, the green flag will fly on the 90-lap race.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com and our social media accounts for all the latest on the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Have a great day, race fans!
Header image by Chris Jones/INDYCAR