Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

O’Ward dominates Indy Lights Mazda Iowa 100

Leave a comment

Pato O’Ward completed a display of sheer dominance at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, leading all 100 laps of the Mazda Iowa 100 to take his fourth win of the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.

O’Ward, who entered the weekend 17 points down to points leader Colton Herta, rocketed away when the green flag waved and was never challenged, winning by just under three seconds. O’Ward explained that starting the pole gave him a big advantage and helped him get away in the early laps.

“It’s always easier when you start from pole. You don’t get all the dirty air,” O’Ward explained. “I tried to control the pace and not push too hard and conserve the Cooper tires. This is my first time here and, unlike Colton and Santi, I didn’t have a feel for what they would be like toward the end of the race.”
O’Ward also added that controlling his pace while maintaining such a big lead was big mental challenge, similar to what he paced in Race 2 a St. Petersburg.
“It becomes a mental challenge with yourself, when you’re so far out in front. I allowed it to get to me at St. Pete and I don’t want to have that happen again. That was a tough one to swallow. I’m learning every weekend, and everything goes into the memory banks, so I can improve through the year. But a day like this is good, where I can show that I have strong pace and that I’m ready for IndyCar,” O’Ward asserted.
“It’s a long championship and this is the most intense month. I had some bad luck or didn’t capitalize over the past few races while Colton had some good runs, but one bad weekend can turn it all around.”

Behind him, Colton Herta and Santi Urrutia engaged in a race-long duel for second after Urrutia charged up to second on the first lap from his fifth starting position.

Urrutia managed to keep Herta at bay for over 90 laps, with Herta consistently trying to close and pass at every lap, but Herta was eventually able to work his way around with five laps remaining.

It meant that the Andretti stable went 1-2, with O’Ward (Andretti Autosport) and Herta (Andretti Steinbrenner Racing) finishing first and second.

Urrutia rounded out the podium in third for Belardi Auto Racing. Andretti’s Ryan Norman and Dalton Kellett finished fourth and fifth, with Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni (sixth) and Belardi’s Aaron Teltiz (seventh) rounding out the field.

Results are below. (Note: the Indy Lights race will be televised at 11:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Follow@KyleMLavigne