Chip Ganassi’s Alex Palou snatched victory away from Penske’s Josef Newgarden with two laps remaining as the polesitter faced ill-timed reliability issues on a restart.
The Elkhart Lake circuit was witness to a race filled with countless on-track battles, many of which involved wheel-to-wheel contact, incidents and late drama at the front of the field.
As the race restarted after the final caution period, the Spaniard swept around the outside of the two-time series champion who had hit trouble with a recalcitrant gearbox, which refused to cycle through the gears when requested.
For the second successive race Newgarden led the most laps, only for victory to be denied with the chequered flag only a handful of laps away. He eventually finished down in 23rd as Penske remains winless in 2021.
Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta would cross the line in second, but the 21-year old would have to battle in the hard-charging pack to eventually fight his way back to his starting position.
Will Power was able to bring his No.12 5G-Chevrolet home in third as the highest placed Penske ahead of the ever-present Scott Dixon who was able to make up nine places from 13th.
Romain Grosjean found himself involved in several close battles across the 55 laps and was not afraid to get his elbows out. The Frenchman’s grit and perseverance would earn him a fifth-place finish.
Despite causing a caution midway through the race after a spin out at Turn 2, Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson was able to capitalise on a strategic call which allowed the Swede to cross the line in sixth place.
Alexander Rossi was also one of the drivers at the front of the wheel-to-wheel battles. The Californian driver carried strong pace throughout and was able to match his season best result of seventh.
Takuma Sato was able to take an alternative strategy to finish eighth despite having a long pit stop to fix damage after taking a hit from Conor Daly in the opening laps of the race.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward endured a difficult and combative afternoon in the midfield to finish in ninth. With Palou’s victory, the Mexican has lost the championship lead and is now 28 points adrift.
Carlin’s Max Chilton secured his best result since Watkins Glen in 2017 as he was able to run off-strategy to finish in 10th place in the No.59-Gallagher entry.
Covering the injured Rinus VeeKay, Oliver Askew would finish 12th but narrowly missed out finishing higher up the order as the final caution came out just as he had made his final stop for fuel.
Kevin Magnussen led the field for six laps on his IndyCar debut which saw him subbing for the recovering Felix Rosenqvist, however the Dane would fail to finish after an engine failure spoilt his afternoon.
IndyCar will return to action in two weeks’ time on July 4 at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course.