O’Ward gets breakthrough IndyCar win in Texas

Arrow McLaren SP’s Patricio O’Ward

Mexico’s Patricio O’Ward has claimed his first IndyCar Series win in a dramatic race at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver hung around the top five for the lion’s share of the 248-lap Xpel 375, making a late surge to steal the lead.

The 21-year-old passed Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden with 24 laps to go, going on to win by a little over one second.

“Finally man! That was a long race, but man we had so much pace in the Arrow McLaren SP #5,” said an elated O’Ward, who has previously finished second on three occasions.

“This team has been doing such a good job and we bounced back from last weekend.

“We got a podium yesterday, we had pace, and we got the job done today. I couldn’t be happier for our group of guys.”

After a dramatic start that took seven cars out of contention, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) led the field to green on Lap 20 followed by team-mate Alex Palou.

There was carnage before the Xpel 375 got underway

Meyer Shank Racing driver Jack Harvey was quick away, surging from fifth to third. That saw Will Power (Team Penske) drop to fourth and O’Ward fifth.

Much like the race a day earlier, the opening stanza saw little in the way of passing.

Come Lap 57, O’Ward got a run on Power and took to the low side into Turn 3. Power squeezed the Mexican, who got loose and backed out midway through the corner.

Pit stops began on Lap 66 with Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian) the first of those to stop.

Shortly thereafter, Dixon came to the pit lane, stopping on Lap 71.

Once the first round of stops were completed it was Dixon who led Palou, Harvey, Newgarden, O’Ward, Power, Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lannigan Racing), Felix Rosenqvist (Arrow McLaren SP), Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske), and Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske).

The second Yellow flew on Lap 115 when front-runner Harvey suffered a wheel bearing issue, smoking his way back to the pit lane.

The field duly came to the pit lane, Dixon maintaining his lead. Power was a benefactor in the pit stop sequence, surging to second while Rahal went to third.

Newgarden and O’Ward were fourth and fifth respectively while Palou suffered a slow stop and fell to fifth. Rosenqvist, Pagenaud, McLaughlin, and Herta rounded out the top 10

Racing resumed on Lap 128 with just 16 cars left in the race.

O’Ward was quick away on the restart, passing Newgarden and Rahal to make his way from fifth to third. Further back, McLaughlin lost a couple of places and dropped outside the top 10.

At the front, O’Ward continued to hustle, passing Power around the outside on Lap 131.

Rahal was similarly quick, making a move on Power on Lap 134. Two laps later he caught O’Ward and moved into second.

What followed was a duel for the lead that saw Dixon and Rahal trade places at the front of the field a handful of times as the pair sought to save fuel.

Dixon would come to the pit lane on Lap 184 with the lead followed by Rahal, though neither would lead once the pit stop sequence was complete.

O’Ward claimed his first IndyCar Series win at Texas Motor Speedway

The final Full Course Caution period came on Lap 190 when Rosenqvist’s right rear wheel parted company with his Dallara IR-18.

Newgarden, who pitted one lap before the Yellow, found his way to second place behind Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) who hadn’t pitted.

Sato led Newgarden to the Green with O’Ward, Rahal, and Dixon completing the top five.

Further afield, Power got caught up high going into Turn 3. With no grip, the Toowoomba pilot understeered and drifted up into the outside wall, falling to 14th on Lap 200.

Come Lap 202, Newgarden went to the outside of Sato and duly took the lead. Shortly thereafter, Sato pitted.

O’Ward soon closed in on Newgarden for the lead and with 24 laps to go slipped to the two-time series winner’s inside at Turn 3 to take first.

From there, his lead was unchallenged. O’Ward cruised across the line, winning by 1.2s with Rahal third, Dixon fourth, and Herta fifth.

Pagenaud and Herta claimed sixth and seventh respectively, while McLaughlin recorded his second straight top 10 finish in eighth.

Rinus VeeKay and Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top 10 running order.

The series now moves to Indiana for the GMR Grand Prix on the road course configured Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 15.

The series is still led by Dixon on 153 points with O’Ward in tow, 22 points adrift.

McLaughlin’s eighth place finish sees the Indycar Series rookie drop one place to eighth equal in the standings with Will Power, 54 points in arrears of Dixon.

Results: IndyCar Series Xpel 375 Texas Motor Speedway

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Diff Interval
1 5 Patricio O’Ward Arrow McLaren SP 248
2 2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 248 +1.244 +1.244
3 15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 248 +5.644 +4.400
4 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 248 +6.038 +0.393
5 26 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport 248 +6.378 +0.339
6 22 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 248 +7.008 +0.630
7 10 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 248 +8.368 +1.359
8 3 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske 248 +11.892 +3.524
9 21 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing 248 +12.721 +0.828
10 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 248 +14.592 +1.871
11 20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 248 +15.318 +0.725
12 8 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 248 +16.074 +0.756
13 12 Will Power Team Penske 248 +17.813 1.739
14 30 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 247 +1 Lap +1 Lap
15 48 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing 246 +2 Laps +1 Lap
16 7 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP 246 +2 Laps +2.577
17 60 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing 115 +133 Laps +131 Laps
18 29 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 30 +218 Laps +85 Laps
19 14 Sébastien Bourdais AJ Foyt Enterprises 0
20 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 0
21 51 Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 0
22 18 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 0
23 4 Dalton Kellett AJ Foyt Enterprises 0
24 59 Conor Daly Carlin 0

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