ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Josef Newgarden said it best in his victory lane interview. Newgarden said Pato O’Ward is going to be a star in the NTT INDYCAR Series one day.
“This is one of the future stars of INDYCAR,” he said. “He’s already a star of INDYCAR. I’m a huge Pato fan, so it was fun to race him. He’s driven me so clean. Even when it was very difficult at the end of the race, all of the pickup on the tires, it was tough to clean off, he’s just a great competitor. I’ve really loved driving against him.”
O’Ward will be celebrating a championship one day the way Scott Dixon is on Sunday afternoon. O’Ward finished between Newgarden and Dixon on Sunday afternoons Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete.
The duo of Newgarden and Dixon have won each of the last four championships now and five of the last six overall.
They came home first and third respectively on Sunday and 1-2 in the final standings. O’Ward finished runner up in the race sandwiched between the duo and fourth overall in points.
“I’m so proud of Arrow McLaren SP and myself for what we accomplished this year,” said the Mexican driver. “Our win will have to wait. We came in second place in the season finale, just five points short of third place in the championship. We have lots to be proud of. I’m really grateful for the opportunity that I got. I think we showcased that we are a force to be reckoned with, and we are going to be pushing next year to give these veterans a harder time. Hopefully bring it to the last race and win this championship.”
He did this basically as a rookie. He wasn’t classified as one due to making select starts last year, but he’s not raced at a lot of these tracks still.
Despite that, O’Ward was runner up for the third time of 2020 and earning four podiums overall. He also had six top five finishes too.
Furthermore, O’Ward won Rookie of the Year honors with a sixth place finish in the Indianapolis 500 back in Aug. 23.
The skies the limit for this kid.