O’Ward not frustrated by another victory near-miss

Despite being narrowly beaten to the checkered flag at Gateway on Sunday, Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet’s Patricio O’Ward says his season is “great”, and is convinced “our win will come.” 

O’Ward not frustrated by another victory near-miss

The 21-year-old Mexican driver scored a runner-up finish in the second of the Bommarito 500 races at World Wide Technology Raceway on Sunday, backing up a third place that he scored in Race 1. 

He has now scored three podiums this season and a pole position, but today he was narrowly beaten out of pitlane in the final round of stops by Josef Newgarden. On a day when passing was so hard, that proved the pivotal moment of the race, for while both of them vaulted the traffic-hindered Will Power, it consigned O’Ward to once more follow a Penske, and he was never close enough to try a serious move on the leader. The race then finished under yellow when Takuma Sato hit the wall, ending O’Ward’s chances at a last-gasp effort to usurp the leader. 

But asked if he found another near-miss frustrating, O’Ward responded: “Not really, man. I'm honestly having a great year. I'm third in points. I'm scoring podiums. I'm technically a rookie. To be able to be challenging for [a win] in my first year, I think I should be very happy with that. 

“Obviously we want to win. We're in this to win. But we're in this to be on podiums, as well. We just keep getting better and better. We're working together, stronger each race weekend. Yeah, we just have to keep doing what we're doing, executing how we have been, our win will come. 

On the subject of whether he might have had a chance of winning, he said: “I could probably get within a car length or two. But it was really tough to follow because the train of cars in front of Josef was massive. If maybe there were no more cars in front, maybe it would have been a bit easier to close up on him and try to get a run.  

“It would have been extremely difficult. My only chance was on the pit exit. I had so much understeer. 

I have so much respect for Josef. He is one of the fairest if not the fairest and cleanest drivers in the paddock. So competitive but yet he's not dirty. I know that I can really race him hard without putting both of our races in jeopardy. Honestly, I tried on the pit exit when I was on his outside but couldn't quite get it done.” 

Power, who finished third and was competing closely with O’Ward in both races at WWTR this weekend, said of his rival’s progress this season, “It's very strong, very strong. Always knew he was really fast. We saw that in Indy Lights and the few races he did in IndyCar last year.  

“He's right where we all expected him. He's definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.” 

Passing trouble 

O’Ward said the 21degF higher track temperatures in Sunday’s race had made the track slicker and therefore more difficult to pass, and didn’t lay the blame on the oil-dry mixture that had to be laid down before the start of the race after a track-sweeping vehicle leaked oil onto the course. 

“For me it was the heat [that was the problem],” said O’Ward. “The track was quite a bit hotter than yesterday. I feel like that made it harder. Kind of like yesterday being [like] Carb Day at Indy, then the race being today, where it's just hotter, just tougher to follow.” 

Power, who finished third, added: “It's simply the weight of the car now. It's obviously a much heavier car. You lose a lot more grip, mainly the front, when you try to get close to someone. You basically need two lanes. That would make the racing really good.” 

Power said the tire dragon device, which consists of piles of tires towed around by a truck to attempt to lay down rubber in a second lane, made no difference.  

“Nah, it does nothing,” he said. “They run a powdery thing into it. Does nothing.  

“It's got to be hot rubber that's pressed into the surface. Our cars produce, in this configuration, 4,000 pounds of downforce. With hot rubber being pressed into it, if they had a machine that did something like that it would work.” 

shares
comments
IndyCar Gateway: Newgarden holds off O’Ward to win Race 2

Previous article

IndyCar Gateway: Newgarden holds off O’Ward to win Race 2

Next article

Newgarden insists IndyCar title hopes aren't dead yet

Newgarden insists IndyCar title hopes aren't dead yet
Load comments
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021