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McLaren Teammates Pato O’Ward And Alexander Rossi Face Emotional Indy 500 Loss

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The two full-time Arrow McLaren drivers came very close to taking home the Borg-Warner trophy in Sunday’s (May 26) Indianapolis 500, despite Kyle Larson receiving a lot of attention. Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi were in a strong position to win the race in the closing laps. Nevertheless, none was able to secure victory.

At turn three, Josef Newgarden made an aggressive outside move to pass O’Ward, who was leading with half a lap remaining. The driver for Team Penske was unable to overtake the native of Monterrey, Mexico, and came in second place. Rossi overtook Newgarden for the lead with nine laps remaining, but two laps later, Newgarden regained the lead, closely followed by O’Ward.

Rossi never recovered and eventually lost one more spot to Scott Dixon, finishing in fourth place. The disappointment O’Ward felt at having to accept his second second-place finish in three years was far greater than this setback.

O’Ward and Newgarden alternated the lead multiple times during the last seven laps. It appeared as though O’Ward would win the Indianapolis 500 when he overtook Newgarden during the white flag lap. Though few passes had been made that day, Newgarden passed O’Ward in turn three after catching up to him in the next two corners. O’Ward lost time to react and lost this close attempt at the Indianapolis 500.

An identical circumstance arose for O’Ward the previous year when he crashed into the wall and lost the race after making an inside move to pass Marcus Ericsson. Lady Luck appeared to be favoring O’Ward this time, but she ended up making him even more miserable.

Favorite by many, O’Ward claimed to have heard the IMS crowd applauding for him in the final few laps. He spent a considerable amount of time hugging team members, including Tony Kanaan, the current driver coach for Arrow McLaren and a former Indianapolis 500 winner, after he got out of the car crying. Following his media duties, Rossi located O’Ward, and the two gave each other a protracted, heartfelt hug.

“It’s an amazing group,” Rossi said. “Pato and I were doing everything we could to work together to try to get Arrow McLaren in victory lane.

“He gave it his all. I was cheering for him at the end, knowing I couldn’t get there.

“Just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

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