This writer still remembers how Trevor Carlin's eyes lit up when talking about Patricio O'Ward last spring. Carlin's speech pattern will easily flit between reflective and sardonic on all sorts of subjects, but get him talking about any of the truly ace drivers he's run over the past 25 years, and he can become garrulous.
He'd been just that way when discussing Lando Norris and Colton Herta, so when Carlin started describing O'Ward in similar terms, it was clear that he thought the 2018 Indy Lights champion was the real deal. O'Ward's startling IndyCar debut with Harding Racing at Sonoma that year - qualifying fifth and finishing ninth - hadn't been a one-off.
It was sad, therefore, when the newly Red Bull-backed Mexican flitted off to dabble in Formula 2 and Super Formula, and pleasing when he returned with a new-found commitment to U.S. open-wheel racing - and with the (sacred) name of McLaren on his firesuit driving for the newly-renamed McLaren Arrow SP squad.