Pato O’Ward wins at Mid-Ohio to tie for IndyCar lead in wins

Pato O’Ward of Mexico took home the checkered flag at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday in Lexington, Ohio.

The No. 5 Arrow McLaren driver overcame significant pressure from Spain’s Alex Palou — who led for much of the day and pushed late after surrendering the lead during a rough pit stop — to take home his second win of the 2024 season.

“That was a hard-fought race,” O’Ward said. “Great job by the team.”

He led for 24 laps with an average speed of 116.071 mph, and his best lap time was 1:07.4339.

The two victories tie O’Ward with Palou, the pole winner, and New Zealand’s Scott Dixon for the most wins this season.

O’Ward was previously awarded a win at St. Petersburg after Josef Newgarden was stripped of the win for violating pass regulations. But this was his first real-time victory in two seasons.

“It’s been a while,” O’Ward added. “I know we ‘won’ St. Pete, but this is a proper win. We earned this one.”

Originally starting in second, O’Ward’s final turn looked shaky, with the car wobbling briefly before he retained control to surge across the finish line.

Asked if the last turn wobble was for show or because of how hard they had been pushing, O’Ward made it clear.

“We were pushing,” he said.

Palou, last year’s Mid-Ohio winner, finished roughly a half-second back in second place to earn 44 points, while Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin of New Zealand was a full 16 seconds back in third.

Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson of Sweden rounded out the top five.

The race had represented an opportunity for Palou to open up an even bigger lead in his quest to earn this season’s championship, but the Chip Ganassi Racing standout couldn’t emerge from his second pit stop in enough time to hold off O’Ward, settling for a second-place finish after leading for 53 laps.

McLaughlin led for three laps and earned 36 points after starting in the sixth position.

Now ranked fourth in the championship standings (258 points), Dixon’s engine gave out on lap 40, ending his day early.

–Field Level Media