Josef Newgarden romped his way to victory lane in the 80-lap Honda Indy 200 to end Team Penske’s winless streak in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series.
The two-time series champion commanded control of the race at Mid-Ohio as he resisted a late threat from Chip Ganassi’s Marcus Ericsson in the final laps.
Newgarden’s win comes off the back of two races in which victory had slipped through his grasp in the closing stages.
The victory also comes on the 50th anniversary of Penske’s maiden IndyCar victory when Mark Donohue won the Schafer 500 at Pocono Raceway.
For the majority of the race, Ericsson was largely on his own in second place after a calamitous pit stop for Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta.
As Newgarden ran into heavy tyre wear in the final laps, the Swede was able to finish within a second of Newgarden as the chequered flag dropped.
It was a superb afternoon for Chip Ganassi Racing as championship leader Alex Palou extended his advantage as the Spaniard rounded out the podium places ahead of team-mate Scott Dixon.
Dixon appeared to lack pace throughout and spent the majority of the 80 laps trying to fend off Alexander Rossi and crossed the line over 30 seconds behind Newgarden.
Despite not being able to find a way past Dixon, Rossi secured a season-best result of fifth place, adding valuable points to his tally.
After starting eighth, Graham Rahal moved up two places to sixth, aided by a stunning second pit stop which was completed in under six seconds.
Romain Grosjean started 18th but shot his way through the field despite getting involved in several on-track battles.
Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward also made up several places to finish in eighth place from 20th on the grid, however, the Mexican has lost ground on Palou in the championship standings and is now 39 points behind.
The remaining Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars of Santino Ferrucci and Takuma Sato rounded out the top 10.
IndyCar heads into a summer break and will return to action at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee on August 6-8.