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Pato O’Ward reflects on win at Mid-Ohio

Pato O’Ward reflects on win at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (WISH) — Pato O’Ward had not seen the podium since his second place finish at the Indianapolis 500. But on Sunday, he crossed the finish line first, winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

O’Ward narrowly took the lead with 24 laps to go after NTT IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou was slow getting out of the pits. O’Ward never gave up that lead.

It was the first win O’Ward recorded since the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first race of the season.

News 8 sports reporter Angela Moryan went one-on-one with O’Ward after his victory.

“It feels amazing,” O’Ward said. “(It) feels like a weight has come off my shoulders, off of the team’s shoulders.”

Not only was the race decided by a razor thin margin (less than one second), the pole position battle was even smaller. Just like in the actual race, O’Ward and Palou battled for pole position on Saturday, with Palou capturing it by just 0.0024 of a second. It was the narrowest difference at the top of qualifying since the Firestone Fast Six was created for road and street courses in 2005.

Sunday’s race was the debut of the hybrid engines. O’Ward said it is still a learning curve figuring out the new engines, and that he doesn’t even know 50% of what it is capable of.

Despite claiming the win at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, O’Ward was quick to move his mindset to next weekend.

“We can’t really dwell on how good this weekend was because every weekend is different,” O’Ward said. “You have to be ready. You have to be on your “A” game and we can celebrate today and tomorrow, but we got to look forward to Iowa. There’s a lot of points on the table there and we want to execute and really maximize it.”

There will be two races at the Iowa Speedway: the Hy-Vee Homefront 250 on Saturday, July 13 and the Hy-Vee One Step 250 on Sunday, July 14.

After Mid-Ohio, O’Ward moved into third place in the NTT IndyCar Series standings. He trails Alex Palou and Will Power. Scott Dixon and Colton Herta round out the top five.