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Arrow McLaren drivers mystified by Iowa IndyCar pace variation

O’Ward finished third in Saturday’s opening race at the 7/8-mile short oval, having been the only McLaren driver to qualify in the top 10 for either race.

After Race 1, O’Ward said of Team Penske’s dominating cars: “They were specifically strong in getting through traffic, and I would get stuck. I wasn’t able to really place the car where I needed to in order to get by some of the slow cars.

“I’m obviously happy with [a podium], but considering how much pace we had here last year, it was a bit of like, ‘Where is it?’”

In Sunday’s race, he could only finish 10th and was left exasperated by his car’s handling, adding that he was simply happy to keep it out of the wall.

“I don’t have an explanation for what happened today,” he shrugged. “We obviously went the wrong way, at least that’s what it seems like.

“The team is going to see if we missed in that transfer from yesterday. You come into these weekends knowing where you usually have been in the past, and with a chance to be able to kind of bounce back, and obviously today it feels like we threw that away.

“I don’t have an explanation for that, and I don’t think any of us really know why. It felt like it was the right direction, and I’m just confused.”

Team-mate Felix Rosenqvist suffered quite the reversal of fortunes, struggling badly on Saturday and then being in the hunt for victory until the final restart on Sunday.

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

“Big shout out to the team,” he said. “We were scratching our heads a bit after yesterday’s race, so it was a hell of a turnaround. We had a lot of speed here, and a few mega stints to push from P16 to finishing P4.”

McLaren’s race director Gavin Ward explained: “We found a mechanical issue on Felix’s car [on Saturday evening] that affected the handling. Felix then showed some speed here today, and he was right in the fight there until the end for the win.”

Of his other cars, he added: “Pato was right up there for the first half of the race. Then, all of a sudden, seemed to struggle with the rear. We’ll have to look into why.

“It seemed like Alexander [Rossi’s] car went the same way, too – loose with the balance. Around here, that’s pretty tough to handle, so he did a good job bringing it home in one piece.”

Rossi struggled for pace all weekend and finished the double-header races in 10th and 15th.

“This was pretty much a lost weekend for us,” he stated. “With it being a double-header, double points, we needed to capitalise here, and it just didn’t happen.

“We were outside the window and just didn’t have the pace we needed to compete. We have a lot to look into before Nashville.

“We’re all hungry for more than what it showed this weekend.” Arrow McLaren drivers mystified by Iowa IndyCar pace variation

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