Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward assured as he desires of first Indy 500 victory: ‘We’ve received a shot’

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward assured as he desires of first Indy 500 victory: ‘We’ve received a shot’

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When Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward closes his eyes at night time, he desires in regards to the Indianapolis 500. 

“Final night time, that’s all I’m dreaming of,” O’Ward informed Fox Information Digital on Monday, six days earlier than the largest race in IndyCar annually. “I hold racing a number of Indy 500’s in my head. It’s loopy. You attempt to tone it down as a lot as you’ll be able to, however this race…it’s not like anything.”

Ask any driver in Indianapolis how a lot this race means to them, and you may possible get the identical reply. For O’Ward, although, you’d assume this race would make him grimace due to what may’ve been the previous two years. 


Pato O’Ward of Mexico talks together with his crew after qualifying for the NTT IndyCar Collection Sonsio Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Could 10, 2024. (Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures)

However the 25-year-old Mexican driver could not be in higher spirits heading into Sunday, when he will get one other alternative to come back out victorious after 200 lengthy laps.

“I need to have a clear, good race. I need to freaking race, man,” he stated, laughing. “I believe typically it’s really easy to get grasping, and also you neglect it’s already such a chance to have the prospect to race. It sucks when one thing goes mistaken, if somebody hits you, otherwise you make a mistake. The chance to only be capable to race, it’s so particular. That’s what I would like. I would like an opportunity to complete the 200 laps, and truthfully, I’m in all probability the final man that wants a hype man. If something, I want any individual to tone myself down.”

O’Ward has a stable pole place, sitting in the midst of row 3 in eighth. His Arrow McLaren teammates – Alexander Rossi and Kyle Larson – are in fourth and fifth place, respectively.


Staff Penske owns the primary row after Scott McLaughlin received the qualifier and Will Energy and Josef Newgarden adopted proper behind him.

However O’Ward is aware of he is in place to compete for the win and that is all that issues. 

“I believe the group put some very quick race vehicles collectively for all of us. My automotive didn’t fairly have the velocity that Alex and Kyle had, however we’re proper there. It’s all about positioning your self and operating the cleanest race you’ll be able to, as a result of something can occur within the Indy 500. It’s such an extended race, you bought to be there. The final stint is the place everybody turns up, and properly, it is a free-for-all.”

That free-for-all is one thing O’Ward is aware of all too properly, however it hasn’t resulted within the victory he is yearned for in Indianapolis. Two years in the past, he completed in second place after making all the best strikes, in his eyes, down the stretch. 

However the “second heartbreak,” as he put it, got here in 2023 when he led for a race-high 39 laps. Nevertheless, his race ended simply earlier than the end line.

On lap 192, eight to go for the win, O’Ward tried to make a transfer to the within on Marcus Ericsson, however he ended up spinning out and hitting the wall.

Pato O'Ward drives at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Pato O’Ward of Mexico goes into flip 1 throughout the NTT IndyCar Collection Indianapolis 500 Qualifying, Could 19, 2024, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures)

“Is six laps to go shut sufficient to start out taking dangers? Properly, I don’t know. If it labored out final 12 months, I might’ve stated sure,” O’Ward stated.

“You bought to take dangers, and that’s inevitable. That may at all times be part of it, and if you’d like that massive reward, you’re going to should take it. You are taking it as they arrive.”

O’Ward would not simply need that massive reward for himself, however for his Arrow McLaren group. It is a group that he signed a contract extension with as a result of he believes in what they’re constructing collectively, and he is aware of they have what it takes in Indy this week. 

“There’s a lot expectation from all people concerned,” he stated. “And everybody places expectation on themselves for this race. Expectations are a continuing battle inside your self. Regardless of how excessive you need to set the bar for your self, you must notice what the fact is. For us, we’ve received a shot.”

A shot is all that is wanted, particularly if O’Ward finds himself within the lead with 10 laps to go once more. As a result of everybody desires to cross the end line first, he is aware of dangers will have to be taken, and he is realized from the earlier two Indy 500’s once they have to be accomplished.

However on the identical time, O’Ward is aware of that it doesn’t matter what you intend, irrespective of what number of instances you dream about run the race, issues change and adaptation might want to come.

Pato O'Ward looks on course

Pato O’Ward of Mexico is proven throughout the NTT IndyCar Collection Indianapolis 500 Qualifying on Could 18, 2024, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures)

In these desires in regards to the race, O’Ward stated he has come out victorious over his competitors. The sensation of profitable, although, is one thing he is aware of he cannot drum up in his head.

If it occurs Sunday, he can eternally say he is aware of what it felt prefer to win the Indy 500.


“I get goosebumps. Like, proper now, once I informed you I received goosebumps, I received goosebumps,” O’Ward stated, laughing. “You possibly can’t assist it however not give it some thought, however you strive to not as a result of I don’t know what it could really feel like. It should be a lot greater than anything that I’ve ever received.

“Solely the fellows who received it could actually let you know. I’ve dreamt about it.”

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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