IndyCar drivers who won’t challenge: No. 2 – Pato O’Ward
Point standings: T-4th (-98)
DraftKings championship odds: +1000
It seems like only a matter of time before Pato O’Ward finds himself back atop the podium. He has been fast all season, but he is still searching for his first win since last July, when a shock failure on Josef Newgarden’s car promoted him to the lead at Iowa Speedway.
Consistency has been a problem for the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet throughout the 2023 season. He looked like the early favorite during the Long Beach race weekend, only to finish in 17th place after an eventful day, which involved the aforementioned avoidable collision with Scott Dixon.
Another low-percentage move in the Indy 500 cost the driver who led the most laps a great chance to win, resulting in a 24th place DNF.
His poor result on the streets of Detroit wasn’t on him, since the pit lane issue cost him his chance of a podium finish, but you have to question if pushing too hard to try to get himself back on the lead lap is what led him to crash a few laps later.
Add all of that up, and we’re talking about 70 or 80 points thrown away. His championship prospects could look a whole lot different, even if none of those weekends had produced wins.
O’Ward also notably hasn’t finished ahead of Alex Palou since the day he told a reporter he disagreed with the idea that Palou can be “impossible to beat”.
It would be silly to suggest that O’Ward qualifies as being overhyped, but when you consider the fact that he is now in his fourth season with Arrow McLaren and has just four wins to show for it, he still has some work to do to become a serious championship contender.
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