By ROB HAMILTON
Ohioan Graham Rahal ended Scott DIxon’s recent domination in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by leading the final 23 laps (of 90) on his way to claiming the checkered flag Sunday.
The win proved to be big for Rahal, not just because he won in his home state, but also for what it did to him in the season points standings. Currently, he is in second place with 456 points, only nine behind series leader Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished 11th.
It looked like it would be Dixon’s day early, as he was best in qualifying and then led the first 22 laps of the race. However, upon pitting, he would not regain the advantage again and finished fourth.
The race then had a number of leaders, with Tristan Vaultier, Justin Wilson, Montoya, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves all holding down first place at times. After briefly being in first roughly midway through the race, Montoya held the lead from lap 49 through 67, but gave way to Rahal after that for the rest of the event.
The Honda Indy 200 highlighted a busy schedule over a weekend that, for once at Mid-Ohio, was not marred by rainy conditions. A lot of 11 support races were held, scattered over a quartet of series.
There were a pair of races in the Indy Lights series. In the first, which was held Saturday, R.C. Enerson picked up the win, leading all 30 laps of the race. Max Chilton finished second and Shelby Blackstock took third.
In Sunday’s race, which lasted for 38 laps, there were two new names on the podium. After Ed Jones led in the early going, Sean Rayhall took the lead for the final 18 laps and picked up the win. Chilton ran second, while Spencer Pigot took third.
There also were two Pro Mazda races over the week, one on Saturday and the other running Sunday.
In the first race, which lasted 23 laps, Santiago Urrutia led 18 of them to finish in first place. Neil Alberico took second place, leading the remaining five laps. Coming in third was Timothe Buret.
The second was won by Alberico, who led 19 of the 20 laps. Buret finished second and Urrutia finished third as those three drivers took the podium again.
The USF2000 series had a total of three races. The first took place late Friday afternoon, with Nico Jamin leading all 20 laps to take the win. Anthony Martin was second and Aaron Telitz running third.
The other two races were both held Saturday. Jamin continued to dominate in the second one, once again leading all 20 laps to claim the checkered flag. Jake Eidson placed second and Telitz was third for the second straight time.
Jamin finished the hat trick in the evening, leading all 21 laps to take his third win of the weekend. Telitz finished second and Eidson placed third.
There were a total of four races associated with the Pirelli World Challenge Series, with two running for the GTS class and two for the GT and GTC classes.
In the first GTS race, which was held Friday, Michael Cooper finished first, Dean Martin took second and Andrew Aquilante placed third. Kris Wilson finished first in Saturday’s second race, while Jack Baldwin took second place and Martin ran third.
Also on Saturday was the first GT race. Overall, Ryan Dalziel won, while J.D. Davison was second and Olivier Beretta took third. For the GTC cars, Alec Udell finished first, while Colin Thompson was second and Sloan Urry ran third.
The second one was held Sunday, with Dalziel winning again and Davison taking second. This time, Bryan Heitkotter ran third. Thompson was the top GTC car this time, with Udell finishing second and Brett Sandburg placing third.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS