Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

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

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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.


Will Power, Roger Penske collect Indy 500 trophies

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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DETROIT (AP) Last year, Will Power finally broke through and won the Indianapolis 500, so he can cross that accomplishment off the list.

Now 37, Power is reaching an age when it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll keep at it.

“I’m really enjoying my racing. I’ve never been so motivated. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, mentally on the game,” Power said. “I think once you get to this part of your career, you realize that you’re not going to be doing this forever. So you’ve got to enjoy it and you’ve got to go for it when you’ve got it, because, you know, probably only another five years at maximum, and you’re retired.”

Whenever Power’s career does wind down, his 2018 Indy 500 win will remain a moment to remember. He was in Detroit on Wednesday night with team owner Roger Penske for a ceremony in which they received their “Baby Borg” trophies for winning last year’s race. The Baby Borgs are replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy that honors the Indy 500 winner.

Power finished second at Indy in 2015, and his victory last year made him the race’s first Australian winner. It was Penske’s 17th Indy 500 win as an owner, part of a banner year for him. Penske also won a NASCAR Cup title with driver Joey Logano.

“When you think about 2018, we had 32 race wins, 35 poles. I think we led almost 5,400 laps, with all the series,” Penske said.

On Wednesday, Penske collected another significant trophy, and he’ll be celebrated again in a couple weeks. He’s being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that a guy from the north can get into the Hall of Fame in the south,” Penske joked. “No, it’s special. … NASCAR has helped us build our brand over the years, certainly, with the reputation it has, and the notoriety we get, being a NASCAR team owner.”

Penske’s most recent Indy 500 title came courtesy of Power, who long preferred road courses to ovals but certainly looked comfortable at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

“The 500 was one record that he didn’t have, and I think you saw the excitement he and his wife, and the whole team, when he was able to win the race,” Penske said. “He’s probably the best qualifier we’ve ever had, as a road racer, and no question his expertise. He didn’t like ovals to start with, but I think today, he loves racing on ovals.”

Power seems content with all aspects of his racing life at the moment. The aftermath of an Indy 500 victory can be a whirlwind, and it would be understandable for a driver to be weary of it eight months later, but for Power, it’s a new experience.

“I’ve been looking forward to this event for a few months now, to actually get the Baby Borg. You have the face on it – I didn’t realize that, you actually get your own face on it,” Power said. “It makes you realize the significance of the event, when you think about all the things that come with winning the 500.”

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