The NTT INDYCAR SERIES made its 2020 season debut at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, after a three-month stoppage due to the global pandemic. Arrow McLaren SP drivers Oliver Askew and Pato O’Ward made their first start at the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.
Each driver received 30 minutes extra practice during the one-day show that included one practice session, qualifying and the Genesys 300 race. Following the only practice session of the event, O’Ward set the third fastest lap at 214.491 mph. Askew was 15th quickest at 211.728 mph.
In qualifying, the No. 5 Arrow Mclaren SP Chevrolet of O’Ward ran a two-lap average speed of 212.013 mph to start in the 18th position. The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Askew would finish qualifying in the 20th position after a two-lap average speed of 210.839 mph.
The duo began the Genesys 300 focused on finding their rythym and working their way through the field in the 200-lap race. By Lap 60, O’Ward and Askew were finding their pace and had improved on their starting positions by climbing to the 14th and 15th positions, respectively.
The drivers spent the majority of the race keeping it clean, driving smart, and using their pit stops to gain ground on their opponenents. With 25 laps remining, Askew had made his way to 11th position and O’Ward was just behind in 13th.
With less than 20 laps to go, the entire field cycled through final pit stops and both Arrow McLaren SP cars made the most of it. When the checkered flag waved to end the event, Askew finished in the 9th position and O’Ward in 12th.
In each driver’s debut at Texas Motor Speedway, Askew improved his starting position by 11 spots and O’Ward climbed six positions.
Following a strong result in the Lone-Star State, the team looks to carry momentum to the next race for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, the GMR Grand Prix at the IMS road course on July 4.
Oliver Askew, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“It ended up being a great day for Arrow McLaren SP and the No. 7 team. The whole crew and Chevrolet put a great car under me and we were able to execute our game plan perfectly. To finish in the top-10 in my first-ever INDYCAR race is more than I could have asked for. We are carrying a ton of momentum into the Indy GP and I think we will only get stronger as a team. This is a great way to begin the partnership between Arrow, McLaren, and Schmidt Peterson, and I’m happy we could have a good result after months of preparation. Thank you to everyone at Texas Motor Speedway, INDYCAR, Roger Penske, and the state of Texas for making this race happen.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“I think it was a good first race for everyone at Arrow McLaren SP. Our first objective was to finish and the second objective was to get into the top-10. We were just two positions shy of getting into the top-10 but my teammate Oliver did a fantastic job and ended up in ninth. I ended up 12th because of a personal mistake during one of the pit stops. I think for not practicing much and coming into this track not knowing anything about it, coming out with a 12th place finish after starting from the back is a huge positive. It’s something that will give us momentum going to the Indy road course in a month. I think it was a great start for the whole Arrow McLaren SP team, our fans, and our partners. It definitely left us wanting more.”
Taylor Kiel, Managing Director
“It was a good day. There were a lot of challenges with the way the schedule was laid out but we tackled them with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Our preparation was second to none, as we’ve come to expect. We rolled in with no issues and were very efficient throughout the day. We came here with the goal to finish, get these guys a lot of time on track, and walk away with some valuable experience, and we did just that. Oliver and Pato both drove excellent races and the pit crews executed well. We had a couple small mistakes on the No. 5 side that probably cost us two or three spots but we can walk away from it and feel good about our learning experience there. All in all, it was a really good day for Arrow McLaren SP and I am glad we could deliver for our partners and fans.”