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O’Ward Falls Agonizingly Short of Capturing Indy 500 Victory – Motorsports Tribune

O’Ward Falls Agonizingly Short of Capturing Indy 500 Victory – Motorsports Tribune

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – As Josef Newgarden celebrated his second straight win in the Indianapolis 500, runner-up finisher Pato O’Ward pulled into his pit box, started to climb from his car and laid his head on the top of the cockpit as he tried to gather his thoughts about coming so close to accomplishing a life-long dream.

The 25-year-old Mexican has come close to winning at Indianapolis before, but this time, it just seemed to sting more.

Starting the day in eighth-place, O’Ward held steady among the lead cars for most of the day, but in the closing stages of the race, he really came to life, jumping into the battle for the lead with Newgarden and his Arrow McLaren teammate Alexander Rossi in the final run to the finish.

With five laps to go, O’Ward powered by Newgarden down the frontstretch to take over the lead, only for Newgarden to pass him back the next time by the flag stand.

That only strengthened his resolve to see it through to the finish, studying his foe for weaknesses and waiting for his opportunity to strike.

Following closely in Newgarden’s tire tracks down the front stretch with the white flag waving, O’Ward took the fight to the defending Indy 500 winner, sweeping around the outside of him into Turn 1 to the enjoyment of the crowd, which erupted with cheers and high fives as the No. 5 car was elevated to the top of the board.

However, that excitement would be short-lived, with O’Ward juking and jiving down the backstretch to try and break the draft, but to no avail as Newgarden was able to mirror O’Ward and made a gutsy outside pass into Turn 3 to retake the lead.

From there, O’Ward simply ran out of real estate to be able to chase him back down by the checkered flag, having to once again settle for a second-place finish in the Indianapolis 500.

“Just so close again. So fucking close,” O’Ward said afterwards.

“It’s been a tough month. So much goes into this race. I think I’m somebody that wears my heart on my sleeve. I don’t really hide anything.

“It’s just when you’ve come so close and it just doesn’t seem to — you just can’t seem to get it right, it’s just a lot of emotion I would say.”

O’Ward explained that he has learned much over the last handful of years when it comes to trying to win the Indianapolis 500 and Sunday would just have to be more knowledge to add to the arsenal for the future.

“Every 500 for me has…

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