PATO O’WARD PUTS CHEVROLET ON THE FRONT ROW AT MID-OHIO

CHEVROLET IN NTT INDYCAR SERIES

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-HIO

MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE

LEXINGTON, OHIO

TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING RECAP`            

JULY 6, 2024

ONLY TWO ONE THOUSANDTHS OF A SECOND SEPARATE FRONT ROW STARTERS FOR SUNDAY’S 80-LAP RACE

  • Pato O Ward, No 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, got everything he could out of his very fast Chevy powered Arrow McLaren Indy Car in the Firestone Fast Six run for pole, but fell short in the closest front-row spread in the history of INDYCAR competition-.00024 seconds
  • Team Chevy drivers claimed five of the top-12 fastest in qualifying for Sunday’s 80-lap race
  • Every Chevy powered driver concluded all practice sessions and qualifying with flawless performance of the tried and true 2.2 liter V6 engine with the integrated INDYCAR Hybrid Power Unit
  • Race day starts with warm up at 10:25 AM on Peacock and INDYCAR Radio with live race coverage schedule to to begin at 1:30 PM on NBC, Peacock and INDYCAR Radio

TEAM CHEVY TOP-12 QUALIFYING RESULT:

Pos. Driver

2nd    Pato O’Ward 1:05.3535)

7th    Scott McLaughlin (1:05.6178)

8th    Alexander Rossi (1:05.6427)

9th    Christian Rasmussen (1:05.6011)

12th    Romain Grojean (01:05.7822)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES)

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet:

“There is always more, right? That was a really clean lap and I thought that we had it but when I came over the line, I heard he was a three-five and I saw three-six on the dash and I was like, ‘come on’.  But the car has been really, really strong from the start.  I told the guys that this is the strongest car that we have had all year in a race weekend, so I am really excited for tomorrow and obviously we are the ones chasing. Its always a good thing to have a carrot in front of you and we will see if we can get it tomorrow. I miss being at the front man.  I really do.”

Nolan Siegel, No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet: 

It was super tight out there today. From watching the first qualifying group, it was as tight as you would imagine it being, to be honest. It’s annoying to miss pole by just that little bit, but I was really happy with the lap. Obviously, there’s always more pace to find, little bits and pieces here and there, but it’s a really strong starting position for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet team. Tomorrow, we’ll be ready to race.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet: 

“It’s disappointing to not make it to the Firestone Fast 6. The No. 7 VELO Arrow McLaren Chevrolet was just a half of a tenth away, and we just weren’t able to get it all together. Pato was very close to pole, which just shows the strength of the whole team. We’ve got a really good car for tomorrow.”

Gavin Ward, Team Principal at Arrow McLaren:

“I’m just super proud of the whole team for getting that close to pole in the first qualifying session with the hybrid system. We were only beat by one car by four thousandths of a second, and it’s good to get a Chevrolet up in the front row. We thought we were going to get two cars in the Firestone Fast 6 with Alexander there, but just seemed to lose a little bit of rear grip on that last run. We had potential to be a little bit better. Nolan had a really strong run and was just a tenth off advancing to Round 2. We’re excited with how quickly he’s getting comfortable in the car.”

Romain Grosjean, No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“Fast-12 in qualifying. I think we lacked a iittle bit of speed today. But we know where we are off and I think tomorrow we are going to have a really good car.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet:

“I qualified 22nd, and unfortunately it was just really tight and really close to transfer. We haven’t had enough pace to battle for a better position. But we are close, and we are going recover in tomorrow’s race.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet:

T’S SO TIGHT HERE, WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT EXTRA SPEED FOR THE PPG CAR IS?

 “Yeah, you just can’t be mediocre which is what that lap was.  It wasn’t a bad lap, but we arlike a session behind almost. The team did a great job and this car was pretty good, so proud of everybody with PPG here. Fun to have Travis (Law) pinch-hitting for the weekend and excited to have Chad (Gordon) back on Sunday. Congrats.  Chad has a new baby at home with his wife, which is great.  Yeah, I just think we were a little behind the eight-ball coming into it and its so tight, you have to be perfect and we weren’t perfect.”

ARE YOU GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIND THAT EXTRA SESSION BY TOMORROW?

“Oh yeah. Always, we will keep going.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet:

“Just made a mistake on my first lap. Guys and girls on this car deserve better because the Sonsio Protection Chevrolet was better and we should have easily been in the Fast Six there.  On the first lap I got really loose, and we have been battling that all weekend. Yeah, probably should leave a little bit in the tank for the first corner of the fast lap, but you know you can’t give anything away and we will fly from seventh tomorrow.”

Christian Rasmussen, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“This is great! We executed well. We made good changes from practice, we really absorbed what we learned and set ourselves up well for qualifying. I am very happy for everyone, not only myself for making my first Fast 12 but also for the team. It really shows that we are moving in the right direction. We have had great pace at multiple locations but haven’t had too much to show for it. It’s nice to get a good qualifying result! Now we just look forward to tomorrow and see what we can do in the race!”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet:

“I really struggled with the car balance out there during qualifying, which is disappointing because we know we have a car that is faster than 20th. I am very happy for my teammate Christian (Rasmussen) in making his first Fast 12. I am looking forward to racing my way up to join him near the front of the field tomorrow!”

Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet: ”Obviously we’re not a 21st place car. It’s kind of unfortunate with the way that the groups work but we were just kind of a lap short with all the traffic in qualifying and needed one more to get the tires started and going so yeah, three-tenths is the difference in being well inside the Fast 12 and basically not great. We’re on par with our Penske teammates though and just tough to not have some outright pace this weekend in Q, but our race pace I think is really good.”

Sting Ray Robb, No. 41 Goodheart Vet / Pray.com Chevrolet: “Fairly happy with 26th today. I know that’s a strange thing but the improvement that we made from the first two practices to qualifying was absolutely massive. I was very unhappy with the car this morning and going into to qualifying I thought that we were taking a knife to a gun fight but we actually put the car in a really good window with a good change from the crew, so super proud of them for that. Not having the deploy for the hybrid system in qualifying I think hurt us quite a bit, as well. Unfortunate that that was the case for the day but I think that were going to be really good in the race. I’m really happy with the car right now and I think we’re in a much better window. I think that we’ve got some consistency that we can pull from and race forward.”

PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET – End of Day Press Conference:

Pato O’Ward

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up qualifyiPato O’Ward, driver of the no. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. The difference, by the way, 24 ten thousandths of a second. That is the tightest front row in the history of the Firestone Fast Six qualifying format which goes back a few years. It was tight out there.

THE MODERATOR: Pato, your thoughts? So close today.

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, super, super tight. From watching group 1 in Q1, it was as tight as you would imagine it being, to be honest. But yeah, it’s irritating, annoying to miss it by just that little bit.

I was really happy with the lap, to be honest. Obviously there’s always more available, find little bits and pieces here. But it’s a really strong start for us tomorrow, and it’ll be a good race.

Q. How valuable was the Push-to-Pass during qualifying since we got a really good chance to see what it’s capable of doing?

PATO O’WARD: I mean, obviously whoever doesn’t use it was going to be a tenth or so slower. That’s the delta. So whatever you do without it, go down one and a half tenths, and that’s probably where you’ll do it with the boost.

I think tomorrow, it’ll be a challenge for everybody. It’ll be a challenge to see are you going to keep the same strategies, are you going to maybe change it up a little bit.

Ultimately it’s become a tool for obviously the drivers and the teams to make either your life easier or your life a lot harder. Yeah, I think it’ll be interesting.

Q. Pato, your team was pretty smart; they put a little series of lights in front of you so you can easily see the deploy and the regen and all that. How valuable is that as an asset for you to keep track of all that?

PATO O’WARD: It’s great. It’s just an extra kind of something to fall back on if you’re going through something — especially in a race scenario when you’ve got a lot more things going on. You can quickly kind of go to that and really see where you’re at in terms of levels, did you get out of sequence, can you get back into it.

Ultimately it’s kind of like a spotter, in a way. Like you’re obviously using your initial kind of judgment, but if you for some reason forget or whatever, it’s kind of there to bring you back.

Q. Do you think it won’t be long until every other car in the field has put that on their dash?

PATO O’WARD: I think every team is going to see — maybe some decides to do it, maybe some don’t, but each team will probably have their own kind of light system or whatever.

Q. For both of you guys, I know we talked 24 hours ago about all this, but after practices and qualifying, knowing how tight this gap was in qualifying today, how comfortable are both of you in feeling like you’re maximizing everything in this system when we’re talking about 24 ten thousandths of a second?

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, I would say more than obviously the free lap time that you get by using the system, I think it’s been more of a hitter into car balance. It’s hard to say with the repave with what we felt here last year, but like that extra weight does make a difference. If you choose to optimize the system rather than optimizing the balance of your car or trying to ignore it, you’re definitely going about it the wrong way because there’s just not enough to override that.

Q. You said on that Peacock broadcast, Pato, that you felt like this was the best car you had had, best qualifying run you’d had this year. What has been going so well this weekend and what do you feel like your outlook is for the race?

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, we didn’t roll off maybe perfect, but we rolled off somewhere where we were like, okay, this is exactly what I need. For some reason the last few road courses for us, which have been a very strong area, at least in 2023, this year has been the complete opposite. The tire has changed, and in some of them it’s definitely been a bit of a learning curve for us I would say. It’s taken a bit to kind of really — we’re talking about tenths. You miss it by one-tenth, and you’re out in Q1. You just need that little bit to really kind of make those steps forward.

I was really happy to see that we did that this weekend, and after every session, even with all the traffic, I knew exactly what I needed from the car. Even in qualifying, like Q1 for me was my hardest session. Like it was the hardest for me to actually transfer from Q1, but into Q2 and Q3, making the changes that we did, I got the car in the window where I needed it.

Q. The other road courses that we ran this year were with tires that were made meaning to have the hybrid in them. Now that the hybrid is in the car, is there something to that, where you guys last year when the tires weren’t perfect for the car, you guys were completely on rails and that change had something to do with the little drop in performance?

PATO O’WARD: Yeah, all it takes is a small change, and it’s what happened.

We’ve seen it in the past where in one year we go to Barber with a certain compound and then we go the next year with a different compound, and we’re at the other end of the grid. That’s the reality we live in, and you don’t really know what you’re going to get there with until obviously Firestone lets us know, and I think this year has been a little bit of a battle with that, just trying to understand what we need because we haven’t had that great performance until pretty much now that’s strong enough.

Q. Pato, have you ever been short anything by .0024 of a second? What does that .0024 of a second mean to you?

PATO O’WARD: It means he went to the bathroom before going to qualifying.

PATO O’WARD: We’re all out there pushing, pushing, pushing. That’s the beauty of it. That’s what makes it exciting and fun. Yeah, looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. Ever since Detroit a couple years ago, I’ve been waiting for this to be a common occurrence, you two guys on the front row, just the way you drive, your personalities, et cetera. What do you respect most about Alex, and Alex, what do you respect most about Pato, having competed now for a couple, three years together, et cetera?

PATO O’WARD: I mean, I’ve always said I have massive respect for him. He’s obviously got two championships now. It’s always been a pleasure racing against him, to be honest. You always know that you can race him really hard, but you know that you’re going to get the same in return, and I think that’s very valuable when you’re going 200 something miles an hour. He’s got a baby now, but great competitor. We’re obviously the ones chasing both Alex and Ganassi. Yeah, we’re pushing hard.

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