O’Ward’s rivals admit they were powerless to beat him

Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon were left wrong-footed by the pace and fuel mileage that Pato O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet showed as he scored his first IndyCar win.

Due to when the caution periods fell, the last two stints saw drivers trying to fuel save, running some 10mph off their potential pace, while also ensuring their tires lasted throughout.

Newgarden was able to take the lead for the final stint when he pitted just as a yellow flew for Felix Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren SP shedding a right-rear wheel. With his main rivals slowed by the pace car, he was able to emerge ahead of O’Ward, whose crew had got him out ahead of the Graham Rahal vs Scott Dixon battle.

However, despite Newgarden trying to build a buffer over O’Ward, he couldn’t shake him and after the #5 Arrow McLaren SP had a look around the outside of the #2 Penske at Turn 1 on Lap 225, the 21-year-old Mexican tucked in behind and drafted Newgarden down the back straight and dived inside at Turn 3.

O’Ward then quickly pulled a one-second lead and eventually won the 248-lap race by 1.24sec.

O’Ward told NBCSN: “That was a long race but we had so much pace in this Arrow McLaren SP #5. We bounced back from last weekend, we showed we had pace yesterday and we got the job done today. I couldn't be happier for our group of guys.”

Asked if he had expected his first IndyCar win would come on an oval, he said: "Honestly, no! But, hey, I’ll take it. It's Texas, it's close to my heart, I've lived here for many years."

Said Newgarden, “I don't know what it was. It seemed like his Chevy was a little better than my Chevy for some reason!” said Newgarden afterward. “At the end of the day, a Chevy won the race, so I'm pretty happy about that. Fuel mileage and reliability was key today and Chevy is always top notch on those qualities.

“Happy with that. I don't know that we can be disappointed, but we were in the catbird seat there for sure but I just did not have the speed at the end. I dunno what was causing that, we'll figure it out."

Rahal, who had led for 13 laps after passing Dixon for the first time – but had then given it up as he needed to make fuel mileage – said: “After the last round of pitstops, I tried to attack but the car was just too loose.  But all-in-all, a great weekend for team – a fifth and a third, we’ll take those results.

"Honda did another great job, and the Fleet Cost and Care machine was super-competitive all race long.

“It was fun racing with Dixie, but obviously Newgarden and O’Ward had excellent final stops, so great jobs by both of them.” 

Dixon, who had looked set to dominate as he did yesterday, remarked: "It was tough and very confusing at some points, nobody wanted to lead. We had to back it down.

“Josef got lucky with the caution in the pits, and Pato did a good job – huge congrats to him."

O'Ward has risen to second in the championship behind Dixon.

shares
comments
Texas IndyCar: O’Ward beats Newgarden, Rahal to score first win

Previous article

Texas IndyCar: O’Ward beats Newgarden, Rahal to score first win

Next article

Three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser dies

Three-time Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser dies
Load comments
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021
Colton Herta – America's next racing hero Prime

Colton Herta – America's next racing hero

Last Sunday, Colton Herta demolished his IndyCar opposition in the second round of the season. David Malsher-Lopez explains why Andretti Autosport’s youngest ace bears all the hallmarks of becoming the country’s next homegrown motorsport hero.

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival? Prime

How good is Palou and is he Dixon’s strongest title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call Prime

Preview: Why IndyCar in 2021 is too close to call

The fight for supremacy in the NTT IndyCar Series will be as intense as ever. David Malsher-Lopez is your guide to the main contenders and six intriguing sub-plots.

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight? Prime

Is Arrow McLaren SP ready for IndyCar’s title fight?

With Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up, 2021 could be the year Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet joins the IndyCar elite, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team Prime

Dale Coyne picks the Top 10 drivers in his giant-slaying team

Over 37 seasons, Dale Coyne has run no fewer than 80 Indy car drivers – including himself! Ahead of his first season running Romain Grosjean, we asked Coyne to pick the best 10 drivers ever to compete for him. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Feb 10, 2021
Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed Prime

Why enigmatic Marco Andretti will be missed

Last Friday, Marco Andretti announced he is withdrawing from fulltime IndyCar racing. David Malsher-Lopez explains how this third-gen racer was a puzzle in the car, but a straight shooter off-track.

IndyCar
Jan 19, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020