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

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

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.


IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change