Pato O’Ward didn’t give anyone a chance Sunday as he started from the pole and led all 100 laps to close the gap on Colton Herta in the Indy Lights championship.
The 19-year-old Mexican set the fastest time in practice, took the pole and swept the weekend when beat Herta by 2.8 seconds for his fourth victory of 2018 and closed to within eight points of the second-generation driver.
“I couldn’t do my victory jump because I’m a little dizzy but it was a great day for this team,” O’Ward said.
“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. 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.
Herta got by Santa Urrutia for the second spot as Andretti Autosport ran 1-2 in the caution-free race.
“It was tough to pick a line,” said Herta. “Santi was moving and disturbing the air, but I would have done the same in his position. He ran the high line for the first half, and I moved up high later in the race. It was tough to get close, with all the aero wash, but he made a mistake out of Turn 2 and I could run deep enough to hold the position. I think we had the best car, given how much we were able to run down Pato in the final laps. But it was a good points weekend, so I’m happy with that.
“Either Pato or myself have been leading the championship except for the first round, where we both made dumb mistakes, but hopefully we’ll continue to lead from here. We always have good cars in Toronto but so does Belardi, so we’ll see what happens next.”
Urrutia made a fantastic start and went from fifth to second on the opening lap before settling for third place.
Ryan Norman and Dalton Kellett rounded out the top five followed by Victor Franzoni of Juncos Racing and Belardi’s Aaron Telitz.