Frustrated Wickens runner-up at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Robert Wickens of Guelph was happy and a little frustrated with his second-place finish in his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara-Honda in the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday.
Wickens finished 12.8285 seconds behind winner Alexander Rossi in the Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.258-mile circuit.
“I think I would have been able to challenge him if I had a clear third stint,” said Wickens who was held up lapping veterans Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan, both Indy 500 winners. “I think we lost a good 10 or so seconds. As a driver, when you have 20 odd seconds at hand, it’s probably easy to hit a fuel number.”
Rossi and his team employed a two-stop strategy for the race while all the others planned on three pit stops during the race. That meant Rossi had to be concerned about saving fuel while the others didn’t. With no rival close to push him, Rossi’s fuel-saving job was easier.
“We knew going in the three stops, two stops was basically the same, but risk with three stops,” Wickes said. “I got stuck behind Sato on new reds. He was quick enough I couldn’t do anything. I had to wait to get a bit of (tire degradation). Wasn’t making any inroads as he came. We were both kind of stuck there. Just a frustrating stint.”
Wickens led the race twice for a total of 15 laps while Rossi led 66 laps of the 90-lap race and third-place finisher Will Power led nine.
“Unfortunately that third stint, traffic, that just destroyed the race for me,” Wickens said. “All in all, started P5, come home P2, not a bad thing.”
The finish leaves Wickens sixth in the standings with 380 points. Scott Dixon leads with 494 while Rossi is second at 448.
It was the fourth podium finish for Wickens in his IndyCar rookie season.
Next race in the series is the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway Aug. 19.
- Guelph Sports Journal