The best part about doubleheaders is the ability to reset and come back the next day, hoping to improve on your results in Race Two. After a tough race on Friday afternoon, Arrow McLaren SP looked to do just that on Saturday, the second race of the hometown Harvest GP.
The day got off to a stronger start in the morning qualifying session, with Mexican driver Pato O’Ward showing vastly improved pace and qualifying fifth. His teammate Helio Castroneves, who is filling in for Oliver Askew who wasn’t cleared by the INDYCAR Medical Team, looked more comfortable in his temporary ride than he did on Friday but was only able to qualify 20th.
Race Two was exciting from the start. With the entire field electing to begin on red tires, the field was already competitive on Lap One. O’Ward worked hard to hold his top five position, while also maintaining his tires and hitting his fuel mileage number. Castroneves went for a completely different strategy, going flat out and planning to make an extra stop.
The strategy appeared to be working for Castroneves, as the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet was consistently one of the fastest cars on track throughout the race. However, the timely yellow he was looking for never came, and the veteran driver had to settle for a finish of 21st. Pato, who made one less stop that his teammate, looked strong all day but couldn’t quite break into the podium picture, finishing where he started in fifth.
There is one more race on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar, the season finale in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 25th. 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
Championship: 5th, 376 points
“We ended up where we started, we didn’t go backwards, we didn’t go forwards. I think we maximized absolutely everything we could out of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Our black tire pace was where we really lost our chance at a podium. We have some work to do, but there’s one more race to go. We are going to try and get a win before the year ends. We are going to give it hell in St. Pete.”
Helio Castroneves, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Championship: 27th, 57 points
“The result doesn’t show how much work everyone from Arrow McLaren SP put into this weekend to make sure I was comfortable. We tried a different strategy, and even if the strategy wasn’t right, it was right for me because I could push and understand more of the car on reds. I wish we could have another qualifying and race tomorrow. I can’t thank Sam, Ric, Zak and Arrow McLaren SP enough for an amazing job. The car is in one piece which is great. Great experience. Hopefully Oliver continues to look after his health.”
Taylor Kiel, Managing Director, Arrow McLaren SP
“We knew going into today that we were going to be faced with a fuel-saving challenge. We chose to split strategies; let Helio run hard and three stop, and ask Pato to fuel save and two stop. Pato did a terrific job hitting his numbers all day long while maintaining a competitive lap time. Helio also drove a good race, unfortunately the timely yellow he needed never came.
Overall, a good effort to finish strong after yesterday’s poor result. I’m also happy with the pit stop performance today and both drivers’ in and out lap pace. I always hate to leave IMS without a team victory, but I’m happy for our partners at Team Chevy to sweep both races. We are very eager to get to St. Pete and challenge for a win in the final event of the season.”
Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director, McLaren Racing
“I think we can leave here happier with today’s results. On Helio’s side, we tried a different strategy and he was putting some impressive lap times during the race, but in the end it didn’t pay off in terms of final result. I want to take this opportunity to thank Helio for his efforts on behalf of Arrow McLaren SP, it was great to have him around on many fronts!
Pato displayed his usual aggressive and fast driving, pushed hard all race and squeezing everything out of the car! The team did a great job on the stops and on strategy but we didn’t quite have enough to compete further up. On to the last round we go to close this season, fighting all the way to the end and hopefully we can close the year on a high note.”