Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
IndyCar Mid-Ohio

O’Ward says Mid-Ohio “feels like first win of the season”

Arrow McLaren’s star scored his second win of the year, but first on-the-road following Team Penske’s DQ in St. Petersburg

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, winner, celebration

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, winner, celebration

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Pato O’Ward delivered a massive exhale after beating Alex Palou by 0.4993s in a thrilling IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Mexican caught Palou and then propelled by after the pole-sitter’s costly hesitation on his final pit stop on lap 55 of 80.

Although O’Ward came under attack from Palou in the closing stages, he held on to score claim the sixth victory of his career, crossing the finish line in front for the first time since the second race of the double-header weekend at Iowa Speedway on July 24, 2022.  

O’Ward was credited with winning at St. Petersburg back in March, but it came a month after the race when it was discovered that Penske’s Josef Newgarden illegally used overtake and was stripped of his win, promoting O’Ward from second to first.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, podium, champagne

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, podium, champagne

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“This feels like the first win of the season,” said O’Ward, now third in the championship standings. “I know St. Pete we were P2 and ultimately ended up getting the win because Penske cheated, and yeah, the 500 was two corners short.

“But we really pushed it [today]. I was pushing so hard. Watching Palou kind of trying to run away with it in the first stint, I said ‘no way, no way’.

“For some reason they are so quick on the primes, the Ganassi cars. They're in a different stratosphere. But I knew as soon as we got the reds on, that was my chance to close the gap and ultimately beat him.

“I knew that was the objective and just tried to keep him at a somewhat manageable distance. I'm super stoked. I'm so proud of the team.

“All my No. 5 guys, they've been working so hard. It just feels like we've had heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak and we've obviously had a tough battle trying to figure out this new tire this year.

“Yeah, it feels so good to give this to them. I know they're as happy as I am today, and we earned it. No one gave it to us. We had to earn it.”

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, winner, celebration with Judy Dominick of Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, winner, celebration with Judy Dominick of Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

O’Ward harked back to the critical moment of the race: taking advantage of Palou’s pit road mistake.

“I'll tell you exactly what I was saying in my head,” O’Ward said. “Coming out of (Turn) 13, I saw him launching from the box, and then I said, “I got his ass.’”

O’Ward also stressed how the softer alternate tires aided the performance of his No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet during the crucial second stint that allowed him to close from over 6s behind to roughly 0.4s. Palou was struggling with blistered front tires.

“Yeah, I think that's probably what gave us the opportunity,” O’Ward said. “Who knows; it's hard to say how it would have played out in the other scenario.

“But yeah, we beat him on the same strategy, same everything, which makes it feel obviously that much sweeter because that No. 10 car has been the car to beat, and it still is the car to beat all year.

“They've been very, very strong, very strong driver with extremely strong team. That's who we're chasing at the moment.”

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Palou explains first gear fumble that cost Mid-Ohio IndyCar win
Next article IndyCar president Frye praises “good first weekend” for hybrid

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global