At the last NTT IndyCar Series race, Pato O’Ward delivered an excellent second-place finish for his Arrow McLaren SP team and took the championship lead from Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, who finished 20th after being involved in an accident.
The tables turned on O’Ward at Portland International Raceway as Palou retook control of the championship after turning his pole position into a win as the AMSP driver managed to lead 28 of 110 laps, but fell victim to an unlucky roll of the dice on whether to pit two or three times during Sunday’s race. In the end, O’Ward went from a 10-point lead over Palou to a deficit of 25 after soldiering home to a distant 14th-place finish.
“Today was obviously very tough,” he said. “It just wasn’t our day. We got unlucky with some of the yellows and this race favored the alternate strategy, which you can see when you look at the results. It just goes to show how exciting of a sport IndyCar is at every race.”
O’Ward, who is never short on self-motivation, vowed to keep his spirits high and try to reclaim the points lead and a chance at winning his first championship as the season finale approaches on September 26 at Long Beach.
“We gave it everything we had all weekend,” he said. “The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP crew was solid on every stop. We are up against some great competitors for the championship, but we will come back the next two races and fight down to the last lap in Long Beach.”