Ill admit, I was astonished for how Arrow McLaren SP came into the 2020 season and not in a good way. They let go arguably one of the best drivers to ever race for SPM and the most popular INDYCAR driver in the series right now for a pair of early 20 year old rookies.
Out went James Hinchcliffe and his teammate last year Marcus Ericsson and in comes Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew.
Granted, I think the world of all parties, but I thought McLarens return to INDYCAR would be best served with a veteran driver. I also thought O’Ward and Askew could be future stars but would serve best in 2020 with a veteran presence as a teammate.
After nine races into the season, Im eating crow. While I do think the Hinchcliffe situation could have been handled better, the two young drivers are thriving.
O’Ward is sitting third in points. He was runner-up in Road America 2, fourth in Iowa 1 and had top five pace in Iowa 2. He was scored with a pair of eighth place finishes in Indy and Road America 1 too. He won Rookie of the Year with a sixth place Indy 500 finish. He led a race high 94 of 200 laps in Gateway 1 and finished third. He was runner up in the second of the two races the last race weekend too.
The future may be now for him. He’s the real deal.
Same for Askew. In an impressive Indy Car debut at Texas with a top 10 result in his first career start and to do so with minimal practice was eye opening. Then, to get a podium in Iowa 1 and to be sixth in Iowa 2 set this kid on a quick path too.
This duo is thriving and can shine Sunday in Mid-Ohio.