Indy 200s at Mid-Ohio: Race Two Report

Finishing ninth, after the recent results Pato O’Ward has had, may not seem like the most impressive accomplishment. However, if you consider that he started from the back, made his way up to 12th and then was shuffled to the back again after the first round of pit stops, you start to see how impressive today’s result truly was. O’Wards teammate, Oliver Askew, fought hard as well, bringing his Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet home in 15th.

The day started out on an interesting note, with morning rain showers creating an incredibly wet track for qualifying. Askew’s qualifying group went out first, with the rookie driver getting his first experience on a truly wet track in an Indy car. He put together a solid result and qualified 14th. O’Ward wasn’t as lucky, hitting a dry spot in the track that sent his car around and into the gravel. He was assessed a penalty for causing a red flag, didn’t record a time in the session, and was classified 21st.

O’Ward looked to immediately make up for his incident in qualifying as soon as the green flag waved, making multiple passes on the first lap to move up as high as 12th early in the race. The No. 5 team hoped to make up even more spots in the first round of pit stops but instead found traffic on the yellow flag stop, with a fuel issue extending the stop. O’Ward was than forced to the back of the field after he made a second yellow flag stop for additional fuel.

He didn’t let his return to the back of the field deter him, as he quickly got back to work passing cars. He spent the rest of the race making his way through the field, showing he had one of the strongest cars and eventually finishing ninth.

Askew wasn’t able to have as strong of a start but quickly settled in. The young American worked on saving fuel and putting down consistent laps. Despite dropping back toward the back at the start, he made his way up to 15th toward the end of the race.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will take a much-deserved two weekends off before returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for a doubleheader Harvest GP on October 3 & 4. Go behind-the-scenes with Arrow McLaren SP at this race, and every race, with our new video series – AMSP Unlocked. Find it on YouTube.

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Qualified: 21st, No Time
Started: 21st
Finished: 9th

“We started 21st and made our way up a few places at the start, but then everything kind of went sideways from there. We came into the pits for the first stop and guys were getting released, which put us into a position where we couldn’t turn into the box quite as tight as we wanted to. This meant the fuel probe couldn’t quite connect and we couldn’t get fuel into the car. This led to us having to go all the way to the back and pit for more fuel. We had to make everything up on track after that.

We had such strong pace and I truly think if we had started up front, we would have been better. I made a very stupid mistake in qualifying that really put us on the back foot and I tried to earn back as much as I could today by giving it everything I had. At the end of the day, a top 10 finish isn’t bad from where we started.”

Oliver Askew, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Qualified: 14th, 1:33.4681
Started: 14th
Finished: 15th

“The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP team made good progress during the weekend. Today was the first time I had to fuel save this year, which was an adjustment, but I felt like I gave it my all. Looking forward to getting back to the Indianapolis Road Course, where we qualified in the Fast Six earlier this year. I think the entire team has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to capitalizing on that.””

Taylor Kiel, Managing Director, Arrow McLaren SP

“Oliver had a decent qualifying effort so he was able to stay in the middle of the pack the whole race and hold position. Pato qualified in the back and made it pretty hard for himself but he had a really good start and we gained six positions, putting ourselves back in the game. The strategy was coming to us for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet but on the first stop, we didn’t get into our box well enough. There was a lot of traffic going on and he didn’t hit his marks like we needed him to, so we couldn’t plug the fuel in. That cost us a lot but nonetheless, we went back to the back and made our way ultimately to P9. I’m really proud of the toughness that was on display today from both the drivers and the entire team, to make the most out of a really tough weekend.”

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director, McLaren Racing

“When you consider where we started, particularly with Pato, finishing in the top 10 is a really strong result. Especially because we had some traffic in the pit lane which delayed our first stop and dropped us to the back of the pack again after a strong start. When you take that into account, to come home with a top 10 result, it was a positive day. Oliver had a better day today as well but he struggled a little bit this weekend. As we leave here, there’s some work that we need to do after this weekend. Do some analysis and some digging to understand where we can improve, and hopefully finish the year on a strong note.”

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