Motorsport News

Arrow McLaren Bringing Lots of Momentum to the Indy 500

Pato O_Ward - GMR Grand Prix - Friday_ May 12_ 2023 - By_ Paul Hurley_ReferenceImageWithoutWatermark_m78997

With a dominant performance Saturday at the NTT IndyCar Series’ GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s safe to call Alex Palou the man to beat two weeks from now when the field takes the green for the 107th Indianapolis 500.

The 26-year old Spaniard had the field covered on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course, leading 52 laps and winning by 16.8006 seconds. Add that to the fact that he leaves this weekend as the championship points leader, he seems poised to be in the catbird seat for the pole and the big race on Memorial Day.

That’s all well and good, but Arrow McLaren looks ready to have something to say about it.

A wave of papaya followed Palou across the finish line, with Pato O’Ward, Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist finishing second, third and fifth, respectively.

With the Month of May a pretty overwhelming experience, even for the drivers who have been there before, O’Ward and Rossi – with Palou thrown in there as well – wanted to focus on Saturday’s result, and the off-day coming on Sunday. The start of practice on Tuesday is just showing up on the horizon, and they didn’t seem too interested in talking about it.

Still, there are signs that everyone is liking where they are.

Rossi, who won the 500 in dramatic fashion as a rookie in 2016, is experiencing a few growing pains as he is the latest addition to the McLaren lineup. As the new guy on the team, he also has a lot of first-year personnel on the car, including some who had never touched an IndyCar vehicle prior to this year.

Being a step behind in qualifying has put the team behind on race day, but Rossi has raced fairly well, finishing fourth at St. Pete and eighth at Barber while improving over his starting position in the three races he’s finished. He feels that race day is well taken care of, and the rest of the details are starting to fall into place as everyone becomes familiar with each other.

“It is a big confidence boost and good momentum going into the biggest race of the year,” Rossi said. “This is a momentum game. Performance here doesn’t translate the other direction, but it’s good mentally for everyone. You know you’ve got the ability to have the results across all three cars.

“When everyone is relaxed and just doing what they know how to do, the confidence in their abilities is when the performance comes.”

O’Ward, meanwhile has three runner-up finishes this season, and has…

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