MADISON, Ill – Patricio O’Ward called his start of the race on Saturday evening poor. He said it had no other factor than the others driver just doing a better job than he did. The Mexican driver brought his No. 27 Mazda home third at the Gateway Motorsports Park in the penultimate race weekend of the year. It was a day that could have potentially cost him in the season championship in the Indy Lights Series.
Colton Herta, his only challenger now for this year’s title, jumped to the lead from the drop of the green flag and set his sails on his first win since race No. 1 of the Road America race weekend. He’d lead the first 69 Laps but with five laps-to-go was passed by his other Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Norman.
The duo had an incredible battle over the final 20 laps but Norman prevailed. Herta said that the race was setting up to be pretty boring with him dominating and that their battle saved the show. He was being half serious about that too.
Herta said that Norman was just faster on Saturday and that it didn’t matter what he did, Norman was going to get by.
The second generation driver finished second in his No. 98 Mazda. It was his third straight runner-up finish and fifth in the last seven races. But, losing the lead cost him seven crucial points in the championship as instead of being 18 points down, he’s now 25 behind O’Ward.
This race and the two in Toronto likely cost Herta the championship.
Herta hurt his wrist/hand in a crash in Toronto and would finish seventh and sixth respectively that weekend. O’Ward, finished first and second respectively himself and has won four of the last six races on the season.
This was Herta’s chance to make up for it but he only finished one spot ahead of O’Ward.
There are only two races left in the season, both next weekend in Portland.