Pato O’Ward won the first IndyCar race of his career, overtaking Alex Palou for the points lead after a wild race at Gateway International Raceway.
The indy car series is a professional auto racing sanctioning body. On Saturday, Pato O’Ward overtook Alex Palou for the lead in points after a wild race at Gateway Motorsports Park.
MADISON, ILLINOIS – After a runner-up finish to Josef Newgarden at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday night, the IndyCar championship switched leaders after Alex Palou was involved in an early three-car crash, moving Pato O’Ward to the point.
Newgarden won for the second race this season and the third time in his career at Gateway, finishing 0.5397 seconds ahead of O’Ward. Three Team Penske drivers finished in the top four, with Will Power third and Scott McLaughlin fourth. In a Chevrolet sweep, Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth.
Newgarden moved from sixth to third in the congested points race after leading 138 of the 260 laps. He’s 22 points behind O’Ward.
“We have to keep moving forward,” Newgarden remarked. “We’re aware that this will be a difficult climb.”
O’Ward came in second but took the lead in points for the second time this season. Two races ago, he was 52 points behind Palou, but Palou’s engine failure last week cut the gap to 21 points heading into Saturday night. Palou was then involved in a three-car collision early in the race, forcing O’Ward to use cruise control.
The 22-year-old Mexican took it easy, avoiding the chaos that eliminated nine of the race’s 24 cars, and securing his sixth podium of the season.
“I believe people are aware of who they can race nasty. Today I had a lot to lose, and they knew it “According to O’Ward.
The way Alexander Rossi raced him on a restart, he thought, may have caused the accident that collected competitor Palou.
“I was completely beside Rossi and he simply turned in,” O’Ward said, “I suppose he doesn’t check in his left mirror here.” “As a result, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid crashing. Marcus [Ericsson] had to do it as well because we were driving three-wide, and I’m guessing that’s what prompted the check-up behind for sure, since it was extremely abrupt and forceful even for me.”
The race outside of St. Louis was the season’s last oval event, and it kicks off a three-week West Coast swing for IndyCar. The championship battle is far from over; just 60 points separate O’Ward and Marcus Ericsson, who is now in sixth place.
Palou was forced to start 21st due to a penalty for his season’s third unauthorized engine change. On a restart 65 laps into the 260-lap race, the Spaniard had swiftly worked his way through the pack and was up to 10th.
Rinus VeeKay, who had risen from 23rd to 10th place via traffic, was cautious of the restart because “everybody’s been checking up all night, it’s like Iowa last year.” VeeKay claimed he deliberately resumed on the inside to escape the marbles on the outside line after four rapid flags — Ed Jones and Graham Rahal were knocked out of the race on the third lap in an accident each blamed on the other.
However, he touched the back of six-time champion Scott Dixon, forcing Dixon to spin up the track and collide with VeeKay, Palou, and Dixon.
VeeKay said, “I was certainly the one who started the accident.” “I had a very nice restart, then everyone checked up at the apex, so I applied the brakes, but the brakes are oval spec, so they’re not as good, so I attempted to slow down and I hit Scott’s rear, and then I hit Alex on the way to the wall.”
“Of course, I feel terrible for them. Alex was on his way to a fantastic finish, and now they’re both in the championship.”
Dixon started the race third in the standings, 34 points behind his Chip Gansssi Racing teammate Palou, but fell to fourth, 43 points behind O’Ward.
“I’m feeling terrible about myself and Alex. I’m not sure what VeeKay was trying to do there, but he clearly put us both out of the race “Dixon said. “We’ll have to wait and see whether racial control can help. This season, we’ve seen some really wild and insane driving, yet it seems to go undetected.”
Palou seemed irritated as he left his vehicle after the accident, and he appeared to shove the medical personnel away as they approached him.
Later, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation, claiming that it was too early for aggressive racing, that his night was gone due to no fault of his own, and that he and VeeKay had driven to the front.
“I understand if it’s the last lap of the race. However, it is still early “Palou remarked. “It took a lot of effort to get from 21st to p10. He began on the 23rd and was doing a terrific job. ‘Man, we did all that hard work together,’ it’s like. ‘What makes you think we have to crash together?’”
In the meanwhile, Romain Grosjean finished 14th in his maiden oval race. When he came to IndyCar from Formula One, the Frenchman said that he would only compete on the road and street circuits, but after watching the Indianapolis 500 on television, he decided to give it a go.
He remained consistent throughout practice, qualifying, and the race, making many good runs around the 1.25-mile circuit.
“Obviously. I was a little unhappy with 14th place at the finish, particularly because we had pace and made some nice movements “Grosjean said. “However, we learnt our lesson and made a few of errors on cold tires that didn’t help. Apart from that, everything went well.”
Will he race in the Indy 500 in May?
“Woah, hold on a second, hold on a second, butterfly,” Grosjean joked. “Give me a night,” she says.
- indianapolis 500
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