The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course can often end up being one of the most difficult circuits on the INDYCAR calendar, something that Arrow McLaren SP rookie Oliver Askew learned the hard way today.
Askew, who qualified fifth and looked promising in the early laps of the GMR Grand Prix, got caught out on old tires and crashed in one of the most difficult sections of the track, Turns 13 and 14. The incident ended the promising American’s race earlier than hoped, with the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet finishing on the bottom of the score sheet in 26th.
With Askew out of the race, hopes fell on teammate Pato O’Ward in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Starting 13th after just missing the Fast 12 in qualifying, O’Ward used strategy and savvy driving to slowly work his way up through the field throughout the race. The Mexican driver seemed headed for a top-5 finish but struggled with traffic on his third stint, which kept him from keeping pace with the leaders.
O’Ward didn’t let frustration ruin his day, continuing to drive smart and save fuel. When the checkered flag waved, he found himself in 8th place, having gained five spots on the day and bringing home a solid amount of points for the team.
Arrow McLaren SP heads north next weekend for pair of races on Wisconsin’s iconic Road America road course. Catch Race 1 on Saturday, July 11 at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Race 2, Sunday July 12 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Pato O’Ward – No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“I think every day where you can improve positions from your qualifying, is a good day. We got some solid points but we are not quite where we want to be or where I want to be. If you are in this championship to be finishing eighth, you are here for the wrong reasons. We want to win, we want to be on the podium. The Arrow McLaren SP cars had the pace, we just didn’t quite get everything out of our third stint which cost us a lot of track position and we had to make that up in the end. I think overall, we finished, we improved, we were on pace, and we have some good information to improve for Road America.”
Oliver Askew – No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“It was really unfortunate and unacceptable, to be honest, to have a result like that. I will have to check with the guys to see exactly what happened but after watching the replay, I just lost the rear of the car. It was toward the end of a stint so the rears were starting to go which caught me off guard. I’m really sorry to the entire Arrow McLaren SP team but we will move on and push for a good result in Road America next weekend.”
“Today was an okay, not a great, day for Arrow McLaren SP. We moved forward with Pato, having a couple stints that went really well for us and a couple that didn’t go well. I think we had the car and the speed to get a possible podium today but eighth from where we started is a good finish and I’m proud of the team. We had good pit stops all day and Pato drove a great race, considering the conditions. It was hot and it was physical, so I’m very happy for him and the team, to have worked forward and finish where they finished. It was certainly a disappointing end to Oliver’s weekend. He had a great car all weekend and was driving a really smart race. I think he just pushed a little too hard on old tires trying to close the gap. We’ve seen this before and had the same incident last year. Turn 13 and 14 is really tricky part of the track on used tires and it caught him out. Disappointing end to the day but we have two races in Road America next week and we will be looking to rebound.”