IndyCar: O’Ward defeats Newgarden to win Texas Xpel 375

Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward passed Team Penske ace Josef Newgarden for the lead with 23 laps to go and stretched the margin to over 1.2s-seconds to win the Xpel 375 at Texas Motor Speedway, his first ever IndyCar win.

Newgarden hung on for 2nd while Graham Rahal, an earlier leader, came home 3rd in his Rahal Honda. “My car got loose at the end,” said Rahal

Last nights winner Scott Dixon was 4th on this day while Colton Herta rounded out the top-5 in his Andretti Honda.

“Finally!” O’Ward said. “That was long race, but we had so much pace in the Arrow McLaren SP No. 5. We got the job done today, man. I couldn’t be happier for a group of guys. It’s Texas. It’s very close to my heart. Many Mexicans were out there in the grandstands, so thank you guys so much.”

O’Ward became the first Mexican winner of an INDYCAR SERIES race since Adrian Fernandez in 2004 on the 2-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway. This also was McLaren’s first win in INDYCAR since April 22, 1979, when Johnny Rutherford swept a doubleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Dixon kept the series points lead. O’Ward jumped to second in the standings, 22 behind.

“Huge congrats to Pato,” Dixon said. “I was watching from back a few spots there, and what he did there at the end was a tremendous drive, especially against one of the best guys in the field.

“Hopefully he calms down a little bit and doesn’t make it too often,” Dixon joked about O’Ward.

While Dixon and teammate Alex Palou were the only leaders Saturday night with three lead changes among them, there were nine leaders and 12 lead changes tonight in a contest that shifted from tactical fuel strategy to all-out speed over the closing laps.

With 100 laps to go, Dixon, Rahal, O’Ward and 2014 series champion Will Power closed to within one second of each other, packing closely to try and save fuel while whittling the number of pit stops needed from four to three.

Dixon and Rahal peeled off for their final pit stop on Lap 186, followed by O’Ward on Lap 187 and Power on Lap 188. Team Penske President Tim Cindric, who serves as Newgarden’s race strategist, decided to keep his driver on track until Lap 189.

It was a deft call by Cindric. Newgarden produced blistering in and out laps around his stop and returned to the track in second behind Takuma Sato in the No. 30 Panasonic Mi-Jack Honda, who had not made his final stop.

Then the last of three caution periods started on Lap 190 when the right rear wheel of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet driven by Felix Rosenqvist worked free from the wheel hub assembly in Turn 3. Rosenqvist returned to his pit box safely for service.

On the ensuing restart on Lap 197, Newgarden was content to let Sato lead for awhile to ensure he had plenty of fuel for an all-out dash to the checkered. Newgarden’s patience ended on Lap 202 when he rocketed past two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Sato for the lead.

O’Ward then pulled closer and began to stalk Newgarden. On Lap 225, he tried to pass Newgarden for the lead with a daring outside move in Turn 1 but was parried. But O’Ward sealed his powerful deal by diving inside Newgarden for the lead in Turn 3 on the same lap and began to pull away, never trailing thereafter. He averaged 169.360 mph in the victory.

“We were in the catbird seat there, for sure, and just did not have the speed at the end,” Newgarden said. “I don’t know what it was.

“We’ll figure it out. But we did a great job. I was really proud of the team. They stuck to it.”

“Super proud of the Arrow McLaren SP team. It’s really special to get our first win where our journey started a year ago. Texas is very close to my heart and is the closest I will have to a home race this year, so it’s amazing to win here. This is great momentum to roll into the Month of May at Indianapolis. We just need to keep our heads down because if there is any time to keep pushing, it’s now. We will definitely celebrate but will quickly move on to preparing for the next few races. Thank you to the team, our partners and the fans for making this first win incredibly special.”

While yesterday’s race was a parade, today’s race was much more entertaining after the teams dialed in their cars better for the 2nd-half of the doubleheader.

Six drivers were eliminated in a big first-lap accident that took out Sebastien Bourdais (for the 2nd night running), Alexander Rossi, Pietro Fittipaldi, Ed Jones,Dalton Kellet and Conor Daly.

“I’m not really sure what happened,” said Daly. “I think in general in IndyCar we have too many start crashes. It’ looked fine… everyone accelerated. I had the best view; I was last. Then everyone is nose to tail. Can’t throw blame. I’ve never been upside down in an IndyCar before. On our bingo card of terrible things to have happen to us, I don’t know what’s coming next. Hinch found a hole, then the 4 car caught whoever else was crashing. Then two giant cars came. It turns out you can be upside down quite easily. We will hope to be on to better things in our hometown of Indianapolis soon.”

“Obviously I didn’t see anything,” said Bourdais. “Clearly someone was checking up at the front of me, we should be going. It’s not an excuse. When someone checks up in front. It’s a real shame two days in a row we get drilled and taken out of the race. It’s a very expensive day for A.J. Foyt Racing and the No. 14 ROKIT Chevrolet. It’s a shame when you get wrecked, right? Even more when you have something to fight with. The guys worked til midnight to repair the car after Josef took us out, then we can’t even run now. I’m not very impressed right now. ”

Winner Quotes



 “Finally man! That was a long race, but we had so much pace in this Arrow McLaren No. 5. I have to thank Vuse, Team Chevy, Mission Foods and everybody on this team who have been doing such a good job.  And we bounced back from last weekend and we got a podium yesterday, we had pace and we got the job done today. I couldn’t be happier for another group of guys.”


“Honestly no, but hey, I will take it. Its Texas, it’s very close to my heart and I have lived here for many years. Many Mexicans are out there in the grandstands, so thank you very much. So happy, finally!”


“This is exactly what I meant, yes. All emotions in one. A little big of relief. We got the first win out of the way. This lets us focus on the rest of the championship. I get my formula one test at the end of the year. We feel like we have a good shot a championship. I love INDYCAR racing.”

Race Results

Pos No Name Laps Behind Gap Led ST Engine Points Team
1 5 Pato O’Ward 248 0.000s 0.000s 25 4 Chevy 131 Arrow McLaren SP
2 2 Josef Newgarden 248 1.2443 1.2443 25 6 Chevy 116 Team Penske
3 15 Graham Rahal 248 5.6449 4.4006 13 9 Honda 107 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
4 9 Scott Dixon 248 6.0386 0.3937 163 1 Honda 153 Chip Ganassi Racing
5 26 Colton Herta 248 6.3782 0.3396 0 10 Honda 100 Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian
6 22 Simon Pagenaud 248 7.0088 0.6306 0 8 Chevy 102 Team Penske
7 10 Alex Palou 248 8.3686 1.3598 3 2 Honda 127 Chip Ganassi Racing
8 3 Scott McLaughlin 248 11.8928 3.5242 0 7 Chevy 99 Team Penske
9 21 Rinus VeeKay 248 12.7212 0.8284 5 12 Chevy 84 Ed Carpenter Racing
10 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 248 14.5929 1.8717 0 21 Honda 56 Andretti Autosport
11 20 Ed Carpenter 248 15.3180 0.7251 1 19 Chevy 33 Ed Carpenter Racing
12 8 Marcus Ericsson 248 16.0741 0.7561 0 13 Honda 79 Chip Ganassi Racing
13 12 Will Power 248 17.8136 1.7395 1 3 Chevy 99 Team Penske
14 30 Takuma Sato 247 1 LAPS 1 LAPS 12 11 Honda 84 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
15 48 Tony Kanaan 246 2 LAPS 20.6998 0 20 Honda 34 Chip Ganassi Racing
16 7 Felix Rosenqvist 246 2 LAPS 2.5779 0 17 Chevy 58 Arrow McLaren SP
17 60 Jack Harvey 115 Mechanical 4.9116 0 5 Honda 90 Meyer Shank Racing
18 29 James Hinchcliffe 30 Mechanical 79 LAPS 0 22 Honda 44 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
19 14 Sebastien Bourdais Contact 0 14 Chevy 68 AJ Foyt Enterprises
20 27 Alexander Rossi Contact 4.7449 0 15 Honda 65 Andretti Autosport
21 51 Pietro Fittipaldi Contact 0 16 Honda 24 Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing
22 18 Ed Jones Contact 3.9851 0 18 Honda 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan
23 4 Dalton Kellett Contact 2.3610 0 23 Chevy 38 AJ Foyt Enterprises
24 59 Conor Daly Contact 3.7575 0 24 Chevy 43 Carlin