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O’Ward can be "more risky" than rivals in IndyCar title run-in

Iowa IndyCar race winner Pato O’Ward says that he and the Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet team can afford to “be more risky” than his championship rivals in the remaining five rounds.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, podium

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, podium

Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The Mexican bounced back from back-to-back mechanical misfortunes in Road America and Mid-Ohio with a second place and a victory from last weekend's Iowa double-header.

His strong points haul puts him 36 points off championship leader Marcus Ericsson in fifth, with Team Penske team-mates Will Power and Josef Newgarden plus Ericsson's Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon firmly in the hunt too.

O'Ward, who also won at Barber Motorsports Park in April, said a strong result at the short-track oval was vital to retain his championship hopes after allowing “a lot of points go from us because of one thing or another”.

Reflecting on his title prospects after his victory, the 23-year-old said: “The biggest thing is, everybody that's fighting for the championship is having good weekends. No one is having bad weekends.

“For us, we've thrown away and given away an easy 100 points, whether it was a strategy or… I won't mention the other ones.

“We've just thrown away a lot of points that would have put us in a way better position than where we are right now.

“I have no other choice but to try and claw back. We can just be more risky than others.”

Having finished fourth in the championship in 2020, and third in 2021, O'Ward said “I really don't care” about any result below first in the standings.

“Four, five and six for me doesn't really change anything,” he said.

 Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, checkered flag, win, finish line, celebration

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, checkered flag, win, finish line, celebration

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

“I don't care for sixth or fourth. We need to go for one and two because we've already got a four and a three.

“The only way to do that is to win because you're not going to get those points by being consistently in the top five. If you're in the lead, it would be a different story, but we're not.”

O'Ward believes AMSP has “a great package in the ovals, I think that's definitely our strong suit,” but still has “some work to do” on road courses.

This weekend's second visit of the year to the Indianapolis road course is one of three such tracks remaining this year, followed by Portland and Laguna Seca, while there is only one oval (Gateway) and one street track (Nashville) left to go.

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