2021 XPEL 375 – Race Report
Texas Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, May 2
Round: 4 of 17
Race Two: 248 laps
Total Race Distance:
Race Two: 375 miles/597.7 km
Track Length: 1.5 miles/2.41km
Number of turns: 4
Victory in Texas. Pato O’Ward secured his first career NTT INDYCAR SERiES win and Arrow McLaren SP achieved their first win since the strategic partnership between Schmidt Peterson, Arrow Electronics and McLaren Racing began over a year ago.
The day started with Pato lining up in fourth and his teammate Felix Rosenqvist lining up in 17th, the starting order determined by championship points due to qualifying being canceled the day before.
Following the green flag, the track went under an immediate caution with an incident on the first lap involving multiple cars towards the back of the field. Felix was able to navigate his way through and further advanced himself three positions. When the field restarted a while later, Pato was able to hold onto fourth, despite numerous challenges from his competitors.
Felix continued his upward momentum throughout the race, eventually gaining 11 positions and running as high as sixth in the second half of the race. Unfortunately, an incident on his last pit stop caused the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to spin out and eventually take a drive-through penalty, effectively ending Felix’s shot at a strong finish. He eventually came home in the position he started in 17th.
Pato was able to use the last stop for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to jump his way into second, behind only Josef Newgarden for the lead on the last stint. The 21-year-old driver settled in and waited for his moment, eventually passing the Team Penske car with 24 laps to go. Pato held the lead from there, winning his first INDYCAR race at the closest thing he has to a home-race in Texas.
Pato O’Ward, Driver, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Starting Position: 4th
Championship Position: 2nd, 131 points
“Super proud of the Arrow McLaren SP team. It’s really special to get our first win where our journey started a year ago. Texas is very close to my heart and is the closest I will have to a home race this year, so it’s amazing to win here. This is great momentum to roll into the Month of May at Indianapolis. We just need to keep our heads down because if there is any time to keep pushing, it’s now. We will definitely celebrate but will quickly move on to preparing for the next few races. Thank you to the team, our partners and the fans for making this first win incredibly special.”
Felix Rosenqvist, Driver, No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Starting Position: 17th
Championship Position: 16th, 58 points
“Second race done here in Texas. Again we were having a fantastic race, the car was really good. I think we managed to get it in the sweet spot from yesterday. We were running in sixth for the final pit stop, then we lost the right rear coming out of the pit, then we were lapped out. Race was over from there but I think there are still a lot of positives.
I’m really frustrated because I think we had two shots at a podium this weekend and we didn’t really bring anything home. Big congrats to Pato though for winning the race. I think that makes up for a lot of it, for the team. I’m really happy for his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES win. Just have to come back stronger in Indy.”
Taylor Kiel, President, Arrow McLaren SP
“The thing we have all been waiting for is finally here. When you go through so much change, there’s a lot of hurdles and adversity that you encounter throughout the process. But I finally felt going into this year, with our driver lineup, partner lineup, equipment and people that we had, we had everything that we needed. So there were no more excuses. Ultimately, we needed to win and we got it done, finally.
It was also good to see the pace that Felix had here. Obviously, he didn’t get the results, but it’s showing me that the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP group is starting to gel. They are starting to understand what they need from each other. Now, we’ve broken through from a win perspective, but as a team we are very strong at the moment. I’m very happy with where we are at.”
We are trying to break through and race with the teams that have more championships than years we’ve been in the business. That’s a big river to cross and we are working on it. There are no shortcuts. I can’t say that it is one driver, one engineer or just a team member, it’s the total package. It’s certainly been a long process. I’m so proud of each and every member of this team.”