Pato O’Ward’s first career win looked like it was once again in reach during Race One at World Wide Technology Raceway but it wasn’t meant to be for the driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
O’Ward qualified on the front row in second, and was able to get past the leader on the first round of pit stops. The young Mexican went on to lead 94 laps but championship-leader Scott Dixon closed in toward the end of the race after a yellow caused by weather.
Dixon waited for his opportunity and snagged the lead on the last round of pit stops. O’Ward lost one more position to a charging Takuma Sato but was able to hold on for his second-career podium, finishing third.
Oliver Askew had a tough start in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, getting involved in a chaotic incident on the first lap and damaging his front wing. The crew was able to replace it and keep him on the lead lap. The rookie did his best for the rest of the race and was able to finish 14th, one position higher than he started.
Both drivers get another shot at a win tomorrow, as Race Two goes green at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“I think we got some really solid points for the championship. We led quite a bit of the race and in the end, I thought we had a clean, fast pit stop. My in and out laps were very strong but [Scott] Dixon got us by a little bit. He’s a tough guy to beat. We had a very strong run, but I had nothing for Takuma [Sato] and Scott. I had to maintain where I was and salvage the podium from there. Tomorrow, we just have to work on the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet a little bit and hopefully we can challenge for the win at the end.”
Oliver Askew, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“A really rough start today. Everyone seemed to check up in front of me in the midfield and made some contact with the front wing. Luckily the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet crew were able to replace the wing and keep me on the lead lap. Our race was compromised from the start, but we salvaged what we could. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with a better starting position.”
Taylor Kiel, Managing Director, Arrow McLaren SP
“It was a good day. We are still looking, as a group, at how to get both Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets up front. Oliver had a crazy start back there, and we know when you start back there anything can happen. It’s unfortunate that Oliver got caught up. Pato drove an excellent race. He’s been on fire lately and so have the boys in the pits. It’s tough we weren’t a couple positions higher, but we will take the podium. It’s a good points day and we will move on to tomorrow.”
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director, McLaren Racing
“Obviously it was a shame that Oliver got caught in the confusion at the start. It really compromised his race. On Pato’s side, he did an outstanding job behind the wheel. So did the team on both strategy and on the stops. It wasn’t quite enough but that’s the way it goes when you are racing against formidable competition. We have to pay respect to that. We need to see if we can improve a little bit for tomorrow. Overall, a really positive day for Arrow McLaren SP and many congratulations to everyone and Pato. A very well-judged drive.”