Pato O’Ward has claimed his maiden NTT IndyCar Series win at Texas Motor Speedway after a late race charge in the XPEL 375.
The young Mexican was one of the fastest drivers through the 248-lap race, and with just 24 laps remaining he stormed past Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden to seize the lead and didn’t look back.
O’Ward’s victory also means the Arrow McLaren SP team secure their first win since the Iowa Corn 300 with James Hinchcliffe in 2018.
The race saw drama the moment the green flag fell as six cars were involved in a major pile-up on the tri-oval. Dale Coyne’s Pietro Fittipaldi clipped the back of Sebastien Bourdais’ No 14 RoKIT- Chevrolet and set off a chain reaction that involved four other drivers.
Dalton Kellett, Ed Jones, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly all got caught up in the melee which led to a 19-lap caution period to open proceedings.
When the race got going in earnest, Scott Dixon headed up the field and looked set to dominate for the second day in a row.
Late in the race, however, Newgarden caught a caution period at just the right time to take the lead in the final round of pit stops. But despite this he was unable to contain the pace of O’Ward and would finish runner-up to the speedy Mexican driver.
Graham Rahal would cross the line in third, the Ohio-born driver had leading pace throughout and would briefly lead before slipping back to help make the required fuel numbers.
Championship leader Scott Dixon put on a stunning masterclass for the majority of the race, altogether leading 163 laps.
The Kiwi led after the final round of stops, but the final caution period allowed his rival attempting the overcut to jump before the final caution for Felix Rosenqvist who lost an unsecured wheel on backstretch.
Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta secured a top-five finish after dropping out of Saturday’s first race at TMS with a wheelbearing failure.
Simon Pagenaud would follow Herta across the line for sixth after falling victim to a double overtake from Herta on himself and Penske team-mate Will Power which sent the Australian into slippery outside lane.
Alex Palou shadowed team-mate Dixon for the majority of the race in the No.10 NTT Data-Honda, but a slow pit-stop at the halfway point meant he lost several positions which he failed to recover from leaving the Spaniard to finish in seventh.
After scoring a maiden podium in Saturday’s race, Penske’s Scott McLaughlin held his own in his second oval outing to keep himself in the top 10 with the Kiwi finishing in eighth.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay would move up three spots to finish ninth ahead of a charging Ryan Hunter-Reay who narrowly avoided getting caught up in the opening lap melee.
IndyCar heads to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to begin its traditional stay at the Brickyard with the IndyCar Grand Prix on May 15.