Indy Lights: O’Ward caps championship season with win in chaotic Race 2 at Portland

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Patricio O’Ward capped off his 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship season by winning Race 2 at Portland International Raceway as chaos reigned behind him.

A chaotic start to Race 2 saw the field go seven-wide into Turn 1, but carnage ensued when Victor Franzoni bumped Ryan Norman into Colton Herta, tipping Herta into a spin and sparking a small pileup that forced Norman and Dalton Kellett into the runoff area. Kellett then tried to plow through the Verizon IndyCar Series signs in the chicane, but broke his front wing off in the process.

Norman, who started on the pole, dropped out with left-front suspension damage, while Kellett was able to rejoin after repairs, but two laps off the lead.

Aaron Teltiz led when racing resumed on Lap 5, but Santi Urrutia eventually got around him to take the lead in the ensuing laps.

On Lap 10, O’Ward made an outside pass on Telitz to take second as they approached Turn 1, and he then set his sights on Urrutia.

After the two battled for a handful of laps, O’Ward was finally able to slice his way inside of Urrutia entering Turn 1 to seize control of the lead on Lap 17.

O’Ward held the lead from there and took the win by over seven seconds.

“I wanted this win! It’s the only race in my life where I won’t have any pressure. I wanted to end my Indy Lights career in style and be out there doing donuts,” O’Ward revealed afterward.

He continued, “I knew that was going to happen at the start, and I can’t wait to see my onboard camera. I saw six cars go in and I figured maybe two would come out, and sure enough, we were third at the end of that. I just picked them off one by one, though Santi made it really hard, but I knew I could run away with it.”

“But nine wins and nine poles, wow. I told my dad at the beginning of the season that I wanted 10 wins and 10 poles, but I was kind of joking. But I came one short, so I’m speechless. I’m so proud of this team, I had an absolute bullet of a car.”

And elated O’Ward was beside himself at the success he’s had this year.

“But nine wins and nine poles, wow,” he quipped. “I told my dad at the beginning of the season that I wanted 10 wins and 10 poles, but I was kind of joking. But I came up one short, so I’m speechless. I’m so proud of this team, I had an absolute bullet of a car.”

Behind him, Urrutia eventually overshot the Festival Curves on Lap 26 and surrendered second to Telitz.

Victor Franzoni and Colton Herta also got into it on the same lap, with Franzoni nudging Herta off the track in Turn 7 as they battled for fourth on Lap 26.

Franonzi was ordered to the spot up to Herta, who held on to fourth until the checkered flag.

Ultimately, Telitz and Urrutia came home second and third, followed by Herta and Franzoni in fourth and fifth. Heamin Choi was sixth, with Kellett and Norman rounding out the field in seventh and eighth.

Results from Race 2 are below.

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