Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet took the lead in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver standing following a second-place finish in Sunday’s PPG375 at Texas Motor Speedway, the opening oval race of the 2023 season. The Mexican, who calls San Antonio, Texas home, started the race from fifth place and had a race-long battle with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden but came up just short, finishing the race in second place after the event ended under caution following Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean’s crash with three laps to go.
Speaking following the race, O’Ward, who takes a seven point-point lead in the championship over Marcus Ericsson to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in two weeks, commented saying:
“It’s been a hell of a start to the year. The team gave me an absolute rocket ship. Everybody that was watching the race midway through saw that. It was an absolute joy to drive this No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet today. We’ve had two second-place finishes, so we’re still waiting for that win this year, but that’s a great start to the championship year and that’s what we need. We’re going to keep chipping at it to get that first win and then try to rack some more up.”
Alexander Rossi in the No.7 VELO Chevrolet started the race from third but endured a disappointing event following an issue during one of his pit stops which saw him fall down the order finishing the race in 23rd place and speaking following the race, he commented saying:
“We had a really strong car. That’s obvious with qualifying and Pato’s result. It got taken away from us in the first stop to no fault of our own. It was an inconsistent ruling from INDYCAR and very disappointing from Kyle. It was a wasted day for the No. 7 VELO Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, but the car was good and that’s all that matters.”
Pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist in the No.6 NTT DATA Chevrolet endured a disappointing race after e hit the wall and was classified in 26th place and speaking following the race he commented saying:
“Tough call today, ending up in the wall. I got too wide in the marbles in Turns 3 and 4 and just spun around and crashed. It was a tough race for me. I thought we were competitive, but I was not super comfy with the balance of the car. But it was on me, that one. It sucks, but we’ll just have to bounce back stronger. It was a shame for Pato as well. He looked like the strongest guy out there. We look forward to Long Beach.”
Arrow McLaren Race Director Gavin Ward commented saying:
Heartbreak for P2 again. If we keep being this mad about finishing second, we’ll be just fine. Pato had a great race, and if it stayed green, I think he was going to get it done. At the end of the day, Josef Newgarden and Penske put themselves in a position to win there, and they deserve it. Hats off to them, and hats off to Chevy for bringing the power. At one point there were only two cars in the lead lap, both Chevys. We’ll regroup from there, but coming out of the race leading in championship points, you can’t complain too much.
For the rest of the team, it was a couple more difficult days. We’ll be tackling Rossi’s pitlane incident first. We’re a little confused about getting docked with the penalty there. We’ve seen these instances happen before, but coming in from the fast lane like Kirkwood did, you kind of expect to be given a little room to you. We’ll have that conversation to try to understand the rules of engagement going forward, and we’ll have a look at our own processes to see if we could have done any better, but at the end of the day, we got the car running again to get a few more points. If we keep bringing good pace, we’ll get there.
Felix had a top-eight, top-five car, and he was managing his race. He wasn’t super comfy with the rear of the car, but at the end of the day, he just got a little too high trying to get around Carpenter. That’s racing – slim margins. I’ve got no doubt that if we keep giving him what he needs, he going to crush it and I look forward to doing that.