Pato O’Ward grabs late victory in the second IndyCar doubleheader feature at Iowa

A day after losing to Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward benefitted from a late incident involving Newgarden to win the Hy-Vee Salutes to Farmers 300 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, July 24.

The 23-year-old O’Ward from Monterrey, Mexico, spent the majority of Sunday’s event in the top five and was running in the runner-up spot on Lap 235 when Newgarden, who dominated and was vying for a weekend sweep at Iowa, wrecked in front of him following a mechanical failure. Taking control by leading the final 66 laps, O’Ward made a restart with 51 laps remaining work to his advantage as he rocketed away from Will Power and the field to grab his second NTT IndyCar Series victory of the season and draw himself back into the championship picture.

With on-track qualifying that determined the starting lineup occurring on Saturday, Will Power, who started on pole position on Saturday, also started on pole for Sunday’s main event after clocking in a pole-winning lap at 178.013 mph in 18.0796 seconds, which marked his 66th career pole in the IndyCar Series. Joining him on the front row was teammate Josef Newgarden, who posted a fast qualifying lap at 177.904 mph in 18.0907 seconds and went on to win Saturday’s event at Iowa.

When the green flag waved and the race commenced, Power launched his No. 12 Verizon 5G Dallara-Chevrolet clear of the field and ahead of teammate Newgarden while Pato O’Ward, who started eighth, rocketed his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara-Chevrolet to fourth place behind Takuma Sato. Through the first lap, Power led the first lap as O’Ward challenged and overtook Sato for third place. 

Through the first 10 scheduled laps, Power was leading by half a second over teammate Newgarden’s No. 2 Hitachi Dallara-Chevrolet followed by O’Ward, Sato and Conor Daly while Scott McLaughlin, Jack Harvey, Felix Rosenqvist, Marcus Ericsson and Rinus VeeKay were in the top 10. Romain Grosjean was in 11th followed by teammate Colton Herta, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Palou and David Malukas while Simon Pagenaud, rookie Kyle Kirkwood, Ed Carpenter, Scott Dixon and Callum Ilott were in the top 20.

By Lap 20, Power stabilized his early advantage to six-tenths of a second over teammate Newgarden while O’Ward, Sato and Daly remained in the top five. Behind Rosenqvist challenged and overtook Jack Harvey for seventh while McLaughlin was in sixth.

Ten laps later, Power continued to lead by nearly four-tenths of a second over teammate Newgarden as the leaders started to approach lapped traffic. O’Ward and Sato remained in third and fourth while McLaughlin cracked the top five in fifth ahead of Daly and Rosenqvist. By then, Jack Harvey was back in 14th as he was overtaken by Colton Herta.

Just past the Lap 40 mark, Conor Daly and Simon Pagenaud pitted under green, with Pagenaud making multiple pit stops and spending multiple laps in his pit stall as he was encountering radio issues.

Back on the track on Lap 50, Power continued to lead by nearly six-tenths of a second over teammate Newgarden followed by O’Ward, Sato and McLaughlin while Rosenqvist, Ericsson, VeeKay, Grosjean and David Malukas were in the top 10.

Nearing the Lap 60 mark, names like Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou and rookie Christian Lundgaard pitted along with Devlin DeFrancesco, Dalton Kellett, Colton Herta and Jimmie Johnson. Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter and Ilott would also pit along with Grosjean, Ericsson, Rosenqvist and O’Ward.

By Lap 65, Power surrendered the lead to pit along with his Penske teammates Newgarden and McLaughlin. VeeKay also pitted as Sato cycled to the lead followed by Malukas and Kirkwood. Once Sato pitted approaching the Lap 70 mark, Power cycled back to the lead followed by teammate Newgarden while O’Ward was in third.

Through Lap 85, teammates Power and Newgarden dueled for the lead as they were also trying to make their way around the lapped car of Grosjean. Shortly after, Newgarden assumed the top spot as Grosjean and Herta were both lapped.

At the Lap 100 mark, Newgarden was leading by more than a second over teammate Power while O’Ward trailed in third place by more than four seconds. Meanwhile, Ericsson was in fourth while Jimmie Johnson, who led 19 laps and finished 11th at Iowa on Saturday, was in fifth. Scored in the top 10 were McLaughlin, Dixon, Rosenqvist, VeeKay and Herta while Ilott, David Malukas, Grosjean, Sato and Christian Lundgaard were in the top 15. Meanwhile, Palou was in 16th ahead of Conor Daly, Rossi, Kirkwood and Ed Carpenter while Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves were in 23rd and 25th.

Twenty laps later, Newgarden extended his advantage to more than two seconds over teammate Power while O’Ward, Ericsson and Jimmie Johnson were in the top five. By then, the top-five competitors were the only ones on the lead lap, though Newgarden went to work to lap Johnson. 

A lap later, the first caution flew when Kyle Kirkwood, who was overtaken by the leader Newgarden, wrecked his No. 14 AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara-Chevrolet into the Turn 2 outside wall. During the caution period, the leaders led by Newgarden pitted and Newgarden retained the lead followed by teammate Power, O’Ward and Ericsson. Following the pit stops, Rinus VeeKay was given a “stop-and-go” penalty for speeding on pit road.

When the race restarted under green on Lap 132, Newgarden retained the top spot ahead of teammate Power while O’Ward and Ericsson briefly battled for third. During the following lap, however, O’Ward, who pulled away from Ericsson, engaged in a battle with Power for the runner-up spot. 

By Lap 140, Newgarden was leading by six-tenths of a second over teammate Power while O’Ward settled in third ahead of Ericsson and McLaughlin. By then, Scott Dixon was in sixth ahead of teammate Jimmie Johnson.

At the halfway mark on Lap 150, Newgarden continued to lead by half a second over teammate Power followed by O’Ward, Ericsson and McLaughlin while Dixon, Johnson, Rosenqvist, Grosjean and Herta were in the top 10. Meanwhile, Alex Palou was in 11th ahead of Takuma Sato, Callum Ilott, Daly, Malukas and Ed Carpenter.

Twenty-five laps later, Newgaraden stabilized his advantage to more than eight-tenths of a second over teammate Power while O’Ward and Ericsson settled in third and fourth. By then, Dixon cracked the top five followed by Rosenqvist and Johnson while McLaughlin was back in eighth ahead of Grosjean and Sato.

Another 15 laps later, the battle for the lead between Team Penske’s Newgarden and Power started to slowly brew as Power was a second behind Newgarden, who was trying to navigate and lap David Malukas.

Nearing the Lap 195 mark, the front-runners started to pit under green. By the time the final 100-lap mark of the event occurred, Newgarden cycled his way back to the lead while O’Ward emerged as the new runner-up competitor ahead of Power. 

Ten laps later, Newgarden was scored out in front by more than a second over O’Ward followed by Power, McLaughlin and Dixon while Ericsson, Johnson, Ilott, Rosenqvist and Grosjean were in the top 10.

Down to the final 75 laps of the event, Newgarden continued to lead by nearly three seconds over O’Ward while Power, McLaughlin and Dixon remained in the top five.

Then with 65 laps remaining, the caution flew when Newgarden, who led a race-high 184 laps, slipped sideways and backed his No. 2 Hitachi Dallara-Chevrolet hard into the outside wall in Turn 3 following a suspension failure as his hopes of sweeping the weekend at Iowa evaporated.

“Man, I wanna cry,” Newgarden said in the infield care center on NBC. “So sad for my team. I don’t know what happened. It was a good run. I feel terrible for us. The guys did a great job. I don’t know. Something went wrong there. Everything felt fine to me up until that point. I did have a vibration at the start of the stint, which is not abnormal. Totally unexpected. It caught me by surprised. This is racing. We’ll fight back. We got a great team here. We pick right back up. We don’t stop fighting.”

With Newgarden out of the event, O’Ward emerged as the new leader followed by Power, McLaughlin, Dixon and Ericsson.

During the caution, the leaders led by O’Ward pitted as O’Ward retained the top spot followed by Power, Dixon, McLaughlin, Ericsson and Johnson.

When the race proceeded under green wit 51 laps remaining, O’Ward took off with the lead by nearly eight-tenths of a second over Power while McLaughlin, Dixon, Johnson and Ericsson duked for spots in the top five.

Eleven laps later, O’Ward extended his advantage to more than a second over Power followed by McLaughlin, Dixon and Johnson while Ericsson, Grosjean, Herta, Malukas and Sato were in the top 10.

Down to the final 20 laps of the event, O’Ward was leading by nearly three seconds over Power followed by McLaughlin, Dixon and Ericsson while Johnson, Grosjean, Sato, Malukas and Felix Rosenqvist were in the top 10.

With 10 laps remaining, O’Ward continued to lead by more than five seconds over Power while McLaughlin, Dixon and Ericsson remained in the top five.

When the white flag waved and the final lap started, O’Ward remained as the leader by more than four seconds over Power. Despite encountering lapped traffic, O’Ward, who had no late challenges from Power mounting behind him, was able to cruise his way back to the frontstretch and claim his second checkered flag of the 2022 IndyCar season. 

With the victory, O’Ward claimed his fourth NTT IndyCar Series career victory, his second of the season and his first since winning at Barber Motorsports Park in May. The victory was the ninth of the season for Chevrolet and the second for Arrow McLaren SP.

“The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP guys in the pits were awesome,” O’Ward said on NBC. “I think that’s what gave us our win. Obviously, I did the job in the car to keep her safe and just to maintain there. I knew we had the pace, but it’s just tough whenever you’re going through the traffic. The guys in front of you have it in a different way than you do, so it’s just different every lap. Super stoked. Super happy. We knew that we had a great car, so I think it was all about just capitalizing and being there when it counted. The guys did a great job calling when we had to pit and it was very, very enjoyable. It’s been a great weekend.”

“Hopefully, we can win a couple more [races],” O’Ward added. “That’d be fantastic. I think we’ve had a good year, but we’ve dumped two wins in the past couple months, so it’s definitely been a frustrating, but yet rewarding few weeks. This is the perfect momentum we need going into the month of September, August and close out the month of July at [Indianapolis Motor Speedway] road course next week.”

Power, who swept both poles of the weekend and finished third on Saturday, came home in the runner-up spot while McLaughlin, who ended up 22nd on Saturday, rounded out the podium in third place.

“A good day,” Power said. “You would love to get the win. [I] Led some laps and I think we were really fast. Just really cool to get the Verizon Chevy on the podium again and close out the points lead. Gotta get one of these wins soon. We’re there. We get qualifying sorted. Just enjoying it. Loving the racing. Love this track.”

“That last restart, I really had to sort of get it going and through it to the outside of Dixon,” McLaughlin said. “He’s a pretty hard guy to throw it around the outside of and had a lot of fun, a lot of respect for him. Good times. The Freightliner Chevy was fast. It looked awesome all weekend. Very proud of the guys to bounce back.”

Dixon finished fourth while Jimmie Johnson earned his maiden top-five result in the IndyCar circuit by finishing fifth. 

“This is really a special day for me,” Johnson said. “For everybody that’s been on this journey with me in the IndyCar Series. So proud to have the American Legion on the car today in the race and to get my career-best finish with them. I really have to thank everybody at Carvana and taking this step with me. It took me getting on the ovals to get my best finishes and I was so happy to be able to do it here today. Tons of great support from Chip Ganassi Racing, all the teammates I have. Today was just a fun racy day out there.”

Ericsson, Rosenqvist, David Malukas, Grosjean and Sato completed the top 10 on the track.

There were seven lead changes for five different leaders. The race featured two cautions for 26 laps.

With his sixth-place result, Marcus Ericsson continues to lead the standings by eight points over Will Power, 34 over both Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon, 36 over Pato O’Ward, 44 over Alex Palou and 86 over Scott McLaughlin.

Results.

1. Pato O’Ward, 66 laps led

2. Will Power, 80 laps led

3. Scott McLaughlin

4. Scott Dixon

5. Jimmie Johnson

6. Marcus Ericsson

7. Felix Rosenqvist

8. David Malukas

9. Romain Grosjean

10. Takuma Sato

11. Callum Ilott

12. Colton Herta, one lap down

13. Alex Palou, one lap down

14. Graham Rahal, one lap down

15. Devlin DeFrancesco, two laps down

16. Conor Daly, two laps down

17. Ed Carpenter, three laps down

18. Alexander Rossi, four laps down

19. Rinus VeeKay, four laps down

20. Jack Harvey, four laps down

21. Helio Castroneves, five laps down

22. Dalton Kellett, six laps down

23. Simon Pagenaud, 19 laps down

24. Josef Newgarden – OUT, Contact, 148 laps led

25. Kyle Kirkwood – OUT, Contact

26. Christian Lundgaard – OUT, Mechanical

Next on the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is the series’ return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the Gallagher Grand Prix and as part of an IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader feature, which will occur on Sunday, July 30, at noon ET on NBC.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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