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Pato O’Ward Nets Gritty 7th at Detroit

Pato O'Ward

Pato O’Ward reflects before the battle in Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

DETROIT — Pato O’Ward may reflect on Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the Streets of Detroit not necessarily about how he started. Instead, he may remember the race in terms of how he finished.

After qualifying 12th for the 100-lap race, the sixth round of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR Series season, O’Ward found himself in trouble in Turn 3 on Lap 1.

Will Power spun in Turn 3 as a result of contact from Santino Ferrucci, resulting in a chain reaction accident that involved O’Ward, Alexander Rossi, Linus Lundqvist, Jack Harvey and Tristan Vautier.

Dropping to 21st on the Lap 4 restart, O’Ward’s climb to the top 10 was slow and steady. Undeterred and methodical, the driver of the No. 5 Arrow Dallara Chevrolet entry marched his up to 14th on Lap 41 after some showers had drivers switching to rain tires.

Once the track dried and drivers returned to the alternates by Lap 43, O’Ward was up to 12th position. By Lap 46, O’Ward was inside the top 10 when polesitter Colton Herta overdrove and hit the Turn 5 wall, resulting in a caution.

Pato O'Ward

It was a survival of the fittest for Pato O’Ward in Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in the Streets of Detroit. (Photo: Wayne Riegle | The Podium Finish)

Restarting in the ninth position on the Lap 53 restart, Christian Lundgaard and Romain Grosjean tangled in Turn 3 with Kyffin Simpson and Lundqvist also in the mixup, prompting the race’s sixth caution.

Following the Lap 60 restart, O’Ward ran fifth before Scott McLaughlin and Sting Ray Robb tangled in Turn 5 on Lap 63, drawing the penultimate caution. Then, as the race restarted on Lap 70, Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden collided in Turn 3 for the eighth and final caution of the race.

O’Ward restarted in eighth on the Lap 74 restart, running in this position until the final lap. Crossing the line in seventh, O’Ward was relieved with pushing through an unusually eventful afternoon in “The Motor City.”

“Survival was the name of the game today,” O’Ward said. “We had to nurse the car home ever since Lap 1 where we had a lot of damage. Considering the fact that we were a bit handcuffed in terms of performance, I think it was a really strong day for us and the Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team. I have to say I’m pretty happy with seventh place.”

Taking sole position of fourth in the championship standings, O’Ward trails Scott Dixon by 56 points going into Sunday’s race at Road America. For the meantime, O’Ward, making animated expressions in his collage posted on his X, was more than relieved.

“Happy with seventh today considering how much damage we had from the Lap 1 chaos,” O’Ward posted on his X.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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