Indy Lights: O’Ward wins Race 1 to clinch 2018 championship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Patricio O’Ward clinched the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship on Saturday with a Race 1 victory following a hard-fought duel with Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta.

O’Ward led early on after starting on the pole, but Herta took the lead on Lap 5 after an aggressive inside pass entering Turn 1.

However, after regrouping and closing back in on Herta, O’Ward returned the favor on Lap 12, making the same move entering Turn 1 to retake the lead – Herta tried to defend, but was pushed out wide and bounded over the curbing in the Festival Curves.

O’Ward pulled away from there, leading Herta at the finish by 1.6 seconds.

The victory also comes after O’Ward crashed in qualifying for Race 2 earlier on Saturday. O’Ward drifted off the track approaching Turn 4, and slid all the way into the tire barrier, making hard contact with the left-front corner of his Dallara IL-15.

However, the Andretti Autosport team quickly repaired the car, allowing O’Ward to make the start for Race 1.

“I was screaming in the car! You work for it all year, so many months of just hard work and focus, and finally all that weight is off my shoulders,” said an elated and emotional O’Ward afterward.

Patricio O’Ward celebrates winning the 2018 Indy Lights championship. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

“I knew it would be a battle with Colton (in Race 1), and I had to beat him, because that’s the only way you can be a champion. My pass on him was pretty much the same pass he did on me; he just didn’t give me as much room as I gave him. It was hard racing: we both want to win. I knew I had the car and I just had to get around him. It’s been this way all year, just hard-fought races. We have been pushing each other so hard, and IndyCar owners have realized that. Hopefully you’ll see us both in IndyCar next year!”

Herta finished second, with Victor Franzoni rounding out the podium.

Santi Urrutia, Ryan Norman, Aaron Telitz, Dalton Kellett, and Heamin Choi completed the running order.

Results are below. The 2018 season finishes on Sunday with Race 2 at 12:55 p.m. ET (9:55 a.m. local time).

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Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.