MADISON, Ill — Pato O’Ward is still mathematically alive to win this year’s NTT INDYCAR Series championship. However, the clock is starting to run out. With Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (6 p.m. ET, USA, INDYCAR Radio Network) being the 3rd to final race of the season, the Arrow McLaren SP driver finds himself 59 points out now.
“At least where I am in the championship, I’m 59 points back, I need to win,” he said Friday from the World Wide Technology Raceway. “I need to win races in order to be able to have a chance getting to Laguna and actually having a shot.
“I guess in that situation it’s a little bit different to what maybe Will and Josef are in. But in reality, I think a lot of the times you’re going to find yourself racing people that you’re actually fighting the championship with.
“I don’t think the approach is going to change much, I guess.”
The World Wide Technology Raceway though is a perfect place to make up some ground however. O’Ward has 3 straight podiums at Gateway too including 2 straight runner-ups. He also has 2 straight top 2’s now at Iowa as well including a win last month.
In his last 10 oval starts in general, he has 8 podiums at that.
O’Ward made 6 oval starts in 2020 finishing 12th at Texas, 4th and 12th at Iowa, 6th in the Indy 500 and 3rd and 2nd respectively at World Wide Technology Raceway In 2021, he made 4 oval starts that saw him finish 3rd and 1st in Texas, 4th in the Indy 500 and 2nd at Gateway. This year he was 15th at Texas, 2nd in the Indy 500 and 2nd and 1st in Iowa.
That’s 14 oval starts with two wins, 4 runner-ups and 10 top 5 finishes. That’s nearly half of his career top 5’s coming on these types of tracks.
He rolls off 6th in Saturday’s race.