By: Tanner Watkins
May 9, 2019 | 9:00 AM
While drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series field will be excited to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix, most competitors have their sights set on Indianapolis 500 preparations that begin next week. One man that won’t be overlooking the IMS road course race, though, is Patricio O’Ward.
O’Ward, who will be piloting the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet in both Indianapolis races this month, will be seeking a bit of redemption on the road course after coming up short in last year’s Indy Lights doubleheader at IMS.
The Mexico native started on the pole in each of the two Indy Lights championship rounds last May, but O’Ward’s finishing results did not add up to the effort shown in those races.
In the first event, O’Ward was shuffled from the lead in the first lap and fought hard to finish fourth in a seven-car field. The next day, O’Ward locked with his championship rival Colton Herta in a multi-lap duel for the victory. With just a handful of laps remaining, the two drivers made contact which sent O’Ward to the pits and Herta to his second consecutive victory.
While the excitement stems from his highly-anticipated inaugural IndyCar start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, O’Ward’s motivation for this weekend is fueled by the missed opportunities in May 2018.
“I’m really excited to get back racing after a few weekends off, especially with it being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the greatest month of racing,” O’Ward remarked this week. “It’s going to be great to kick the month of May off at the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
“Last year, I was able to get both poles in the Indy Lights road courses races at IMS, but unfortunately, neither race went as planned. Regardless, I’ve had a lot of success there over the years, so I’m confident we can build on that and hopefully come away with a good result.”
O’Ward has been solid in his three NTT IndyCar Series starts this season, notching a top-ten run at Circuit of the Americas alongside finishes of 16th (Barber Motorsports Park) and 12th (Long Beach) as a part-timer thus far.
Driving for Trevor Carlin’s second-year IndyCar team, O’Ward has finished all but one lap in the three races he has been a part of and will look to carry that momentum into the month of May.
“Racing at IMS is always a very special feeling and I’m excited to finally be able to race there as an NTT IndyCar Series driver.”
Pato and the rest of the NTT IndyCar Series paddock will go green on the sixth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix this Saturday at 3:50 PM Eastern on NBC.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.