Iowa winner O’Ward: “This is the momentum we need”

Pato O’Ward says that the Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet team has endured some tough weekends but that their Iowa results will boost them psychologically for the remainder of the season.

In Saturday’s Iowa race, one slightly early pitstop in a stint, a flawless stop by the #5 AMSP crew and a strong in- and out-lap by the driver vaulted O’Ward ahead of polesitter Will Power into second behind Josef Newgarden.

The same thing occurred today, only this time a component failure sent Newgarden spinning into the wall on the 0.894-mile oval, leaving O’Ward to lead the final 66 laps of the race and claim the fourth victory of his career, beating Power by 4.25sec.

The Mexican ace told NBC: "The #5 Arrow McLaren SP guys in the pits were awesome. Obviously I did the job in the car to keep her safe.

“I knew we had the pace but it's tough going through the traffic, it's different every lap. Super-stoked and super-happy, it was about being there when it counted.

“It was very, very enjoyable. The guys did a great job calling when to pit."

The result cemented him in fifth on the championship table just 36 points behind Marcus Ericsson, whose Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda finished sixth today. Second and first on consecutive days in Iowa is a strong bounceback for the #5 team that lost potential podiums in Road America and Mid-Ohio to engine failure and fuel-feed issues respectively.

"Hopefully we can win a couple more, that would be fantastic,” said O’Ward. “We've had a good year but we've dumped two wins in the past couple of months. It's been a frustrating yet rewarding few weeks.

“This is the perfect momentum we need going into August and September."

Teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who crashed out in Saturday’s race with a snappy, oversteering car, also had a more successful Sunday event, finishing a fighting seventh, behind compatriot Ericsson. The Swede, who still doesn’t know in which category he will be racing in 2023 – although he will remain a McLaren driver –bounced back up into ninth in points.

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