Pato O’Ward. driver of the No.5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet says that he is super happy that the team moved forward in Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding where he finished in second place behind winner Josef Newgarden. O’Ward, who started the race from third was delighted with how the race panned out and with Josef Newgarden seemingly untouchable today second was a great result.

“I’m super happy that we went forward today, and I have to give it up to Team Chevy and Arrow McLaren. They got to work this offseason and as you can see, it was a Chevy 1-2-3-4. Penske was a little too strong for us, and I had McLaughlin and Power there putting on some pretty good pressure, but I’m happy with my race car. We just need a little more to make Newgarden sweat. But I’m super happy with the foundation we laid here today for 2024, it’s a long season ahead. We’re looking forward to it.”

Alexander Rossi in the No.7 VELO Chevrolet started the race from 15th on the grid and came through the field to finish the event in eighth place and speaking following the action, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner commented saying:

“It’s always going to be very hard from 15th, but I think the team did a great job maximizing what we could. We knew we had a fast car all weekend, and that was the case in the race. We had a good strategy, great pit stops. That’s really all you can do on days like this, kind of damage control. Obviously, it was a good day for the team with Pato on the podium, and we will learn from our mistakes this weekend and look forward to the next one.”

It was a solid day for Callum Ilott in the No.6 NTT DATA Chevrolet who filled in for the injured David Malukas as he started the race from 16th and finished the race in 13th place.

It wasn’t a bad race. Starting 16th, we chipped away a little bit. I think we struggled a little bit in the first stint, everyone was quite processional, but we had a good car. Once we put the Firestone Alternate tires on, we definitely had a bit more pace and it was a shame we couldn’t quite unlock it with the way traffic worked out. Then we tried to gamble pitting earlier for the final stint, and it almost paid off but didn’t quite get through. There was a lot of fuel save at the end. Arrow McLaren did a great job with the car; it was fast.

“Honestly, it’s a shame we didn’t get a bit more out of it. Pato in P2 and Alexander in P8, so I think it was good that we could all move forward, and the No. 6 NTT DATA Arrow McLaren Chevrolet was quick this weekend and we can all come away happy with some points.”

Arrow McLaren Team Principal Gavin Ward commented on the opening race of the season saying:

First off, hats off to Chevrolet. We got to work this off season; we worked bloody hard at improving our package. Our team and Chevy put a lot into being more competitive, particularly on street courses. That’s something we knew we needed to be better at, and here you got the top four cars in the race result – all Chevy race cars. Yeah, we wanted to be the top one, don’t get me wrong. Penske was a little better than us today, getting all three of their cars in the top four, but Pato and the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet really nailed their weekend, to get up there and split the Penskes. We should take a lot of confidence and contentment from that.

“For the other guys, it was always going to be a bit of a tricky day. You’ve got to qualify here; today showed track position counts. It was very difficult to pass. Then we thought we may have better room to go through the exchange, but the first caution really neutered strategies, so that made it even harder to make up ground. Having said that, Alexander drove a really good race and showed the potential. He had really good pace, was really happy with the car and was really great on pit lane. To get up there to eighth, that’s a good recovery today and puts him on the board and where we need to be to fight for a championship. Callum had one day in the hybrid car before coming here with the team, which was a tall order and I don’t think we ever got really consistent or quite as comfortable as we’d have wanted to. He put in a respectable weekend for us. It’s tough getting to know new people, a new car and trying to get everything to suit his style. It was a good race for him and the strongest he’d been driving all weekend, so we got improvement from that group. All in all, we have a lot of takeaways before we get to Thermal later this month.

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