By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
“I was just watching. I had VIP seats to the battle.”
Patricio O’Ward may have been in the fight for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 in the closing 30 laps, but the Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet eventually had to settle for the view.
Running third in the closing stages of the famed race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, O’Ward was unable to close in on the top two of Alex Palou and Helio Castroneves. And after a ‘massive moment on lap 200′, he fell to finish fourth.
“I didn’t have enough for them. I didn’t have enough speed,” O’Ward bluntly said. “I tried everything in my power to try and catch them, especially that last lap. I had a massive moment and I had to let — well, I didn’t let him by, but Simon [Pagenaud] got by me for third.”
Leading 17 laps on the afternoon, O’Ward had his best run yet at the yard of bricks.
“We were in the fight all day,” he said. “Especially midway through the race. I felt we had a very competitive car, one that could have won the race. But in the last stint, whenever [the team] let me loose, I knew they were gonna let the other guys loose as well.”
While the top two of Palou and Castroneves traded the lead numerous times, O’Ward was stuck in their draft, simply trying to preserve third place.
“We just didn’t have enough speed. Bottom line,” he said. “I just couldn’t catch up to them. They had too much straight-line speed.
“We ran a near-perfect race. Just not enough at the end.”
Though he lost third spot on the final lap, O’Ward stresses that a podium isn’t what you come to Indy for.
“Here at Indy, you go for first. You don’t come here for third,” he said. “We need to work harder, find a solution and come by stronger next year.
“I had a great car underneath me. I knew we had the correct balance to run a fantastic race. We just needed that little bit extra, but we didn’t have it.”
O’Ward praised Castroneves’ ability after seeing the Meyer Shank Racing driver take home his record-tying fourth win in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’m so happy for him,” he said of Castroneves. “I know he has been looking and really working hard for this fourth one. This is mega for Meyer-Shank Racing. I’m happy for him.”
We were close… but not quite. 4th in the end😁 we know winning is the only thing that matters in INDY but we should be proud of our performance today.
— Pato O'Ward (@PatricioOWard) May 30, 2021