The world of INDYCAR is full of ups and downs, with Arrow McLaren SP experiencing a down moment during Race One of the inaugural Harvest GP.
The weekend struggles started during Race One Qualifying on Thursday, with Pato O’Ward’s Group One session being cut short by a red flag, limiting his running and leading to a starting position of 10th. Helio Castroneves had a full session in Group Two, but with only one practice session to become gel with the team and the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Castroneves would put together a starting position of 19th.
Friday’s race got off to a promising start, with O’Ward aggressively making up two spots on the first lap and making his way up to 8th. The young driver was looking headed for the top five when he cross the pit-exit line too early following his first stop, leading to an automatic drive-through penalty. This would cause the No. 5 car to have to serve a penalty and take an extra stop for tires later in the race, creating a gap too big to make up and he would finish the race in 22nd.
Castroneves, who is filling in for Oliver Askew after the Arrow McLaren SP driver wasn’t cleared to race by the INDYCAR Medical Team, settled in early, taking every lap as an opportunity to learn more about his new ride. The 45-year-old veteran slowly got the car under him and was increasing pace throughout the day, becoming more competitive and eventually finishing 22nd.
Arrow McLaren SP returns to the track on Saturday, October 3rd, for Race Two of the INDYCAR Harvest Grand Prix. Tune in at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC. 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.
Helio Castroneves, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Championship: 27th, 48 points
“It’s great to be back in a race car in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Arrow McLaren SP and Chevrolet did a phenomenal job by giving me the tools that I needed. Obviously a little off pace, however it was great to understand what we need to do to learn about the car. We will make some adjustments for tomorrow. That’s the good news, we have another day to do it all over again.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Championship: 4th, 346 points
“There is not much to say, it’s probably the worst day we’ve had all year. We just have to regroup tomorrow and try to go win the race. There’s nothing that we can do right now, honestly. For the rest of the year, we have to try to win as many races we can. There’s two more to chase. We will be going for it tomorrow.”
Taylor Kiel, Managing Director, Arrow McLaren SP
“Looking forward to qualifying and racing tomorrow. We know we have good speed and that the Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets are good. We made a mistake in the race that cost us big time. We have another chance tomorrow, and we will make the most of it for sure.”
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director, McLaren Racing
“Tough day at the office for Arrow McLaren SP. Pato had another brilliant start but we could see both drivers had handling difficulties from the get-go. Unfortunately for Pato, we had to serve a drivethrough penalty and then do one extra stop for tires. Otherwise his pace was quite decent, despite all the issues.
Helio’s race today was more focused on learning and getting prepared for tomorrow. He also fought hard all race and got to the end cleanly, which was our main goal. We have some homework to do tonight to improve our cars and I am sure we will come back stronger tomorrow.”