Pato O’Ward Scores First Career IndyCar Win

Pato O’Ward wins the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, picking up his first career win in the NTT IndyCar Series. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

In his second season with Arrow McLaren SP, Pato O’Ward has come close to winning several times. But it was not meant to be until Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. With less than 25 laps remaining, O’Ward passed Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden for the lead and never looked back.

Pato O’Ward took the checkered flag, scoring his first career NTT IndyCar Series win at the 1.5-mile oval track. He becomes the first Mexican driver to win an IndyCar race since Adrian Fernandez in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway.

“Finally!” O’Ward said. “That was a long race, but we had so much pace in the Arrow McLaren SP No. 5. We got the job done today, man. I couldn’t be happier for a group of guys. It’s Texas. It’s very close to my heart. Many Mexicans were out there in the grandstands, so thank you guys so much.”

Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal completed the podium.

Heading to the state of Indiana fifth in points, Rahal is feeling optimistic about his chances for the rest of May. With plans to run a Buddy Rice throwback livery from 2004, the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing United Rentals Honda displayed decent speed during testing at Indianapolis last month.

“Our team has worked exceptionally hard to be — well, we finished first and third last year, not like we were bad,” Rahal said. “This time around, hopefully, the 15 car can be first.”

Saturday’s winner Scott Dixon led a race-high 163 laps, but settled for a fourth-place finish, following an untimely caution by Felix Rosenqvist’s loose wheel that shook up the running order at the front. More importantly, Dixon maintains the championship points lead heading into the next round at the IMS Road Course. He leads O’Ward by 22 points.

The six-time IndyCar champion praised the 21-year-old first-time winner for his performance on Sunday.

“Huge congrats to Pato,” Dixon said. “I was watching from back a few spots there, and what he did there at the end was a tremendous drive, especially against one of the best guys in the field.”

Wreck At The Start

Coming to the green flag, the field stacked up and chaos ensued. Pietro Fittipaldi made contact with the rear of Sebastien Bourdais, sending the No. 14 Chevrolet into Alexander Rossi’s No. 27 Honda and collected others such as Ed Jones, Dalton Kellett and Conor Daly.

Starting from the last row, Daly’s No. 59 Carlin Racing Chevrolet had nowhere to go. Daly hit the sliding cars of Jones and Kellett, flipped over on his lid and back on all fours as the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team arrived at the accident scene. Luckily, Daly and other drivers involved walked away unharmed.

Conor Daly escaped a scary accident at the start of the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

For the second straight day, Bourdais retired from the race, after getting hit from behind. On Saturday, the culprit was Josef Newgarden. A day later, Bourdais got turned by Fittipaldi. Two disappointing race-ending crashes left the AJ Foyt Racing driver 85 points behind in the championship leaving Texas.

Bad Luck Rossi

Entering the XPEL 375, Alexander Rossi was facing an uphill battle to get in the early season title fight. Stuck 15th in the points and 62 behind Dixon, Rossi needed to have a solid points day at Texas on Sunday. Unfortunately, he never got to complete a single lap, after getting collected in the multi-car crash at the drop of the green flag.

Rossi remains 15th in points exiting the Texas doubleheader weekend, but the gap has grown to 88 points. For the rest of May, Rossi will have to be near perfect with limited mistakes, while fighting for podiums and race wins.

While it is still early in the season, four races in, the championship could start slipping away from a driver, who is attempting to win for the first time since June 2019 at Road America.

McLaren F1 Test For Pato

Last month at Barber Motorsports Park, McLaren CEO Zak Brown promised Pato O’Ward a unique bargain. If O’Ward wins an IndyCar race this season, Brown would let him test the McLaren Formula 1 car at the end of the year at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

With O’Ward claiming the IndyCar race victory at Texas Motor Speedway, it appears that Brown is keeping his word.

Back Home Again In Indiana

After three consecutive weeks on the road, the NTT IndyCar Series paddock will enjoy a nice one-week break, before the month of May gets really busy. Next, IndyCar will return to the Hoosier State for the GMR Grand Prix at the IMS Road Course.

Will Power leads the field at the start of the 2020 GMR Grand Prix at the IMS Road Course. (Photo Credit: James Black/INDYCAR)

On Saturday, May 15, NBC will provide live coverage of the GMR Grand Prix, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Scott Dixon is the defending race winner.

Texas Race 2 Top-10 Results: O’Ward, Newgarden, Rahal, Dixon, Herta, Pagenaud, Palou, McLaughlin, VeeKay, Hunter-Reay

Kobe Lambeth

My name is Kobe Lambeth and I am a recent graduate of UNC Charlotte. I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. Since 2007, I have developed a strong passion for motorsports. My childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time.

In June 2017, my journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. We wanted to provide expanded coverage of high school football throughout the local community. With the use of Twitter, we had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts.

At The Podium Finish, my goal is to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as NASCAR, IndyCar and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. I'm also the Multimedia Producer at GRID Network.

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