O’Ward delivered a well deserved sixth place after climbing to a legitimate third in the race, behind only Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi, and then containing his natural exuberance and frustration as the car’s balance went away and began to look skittish.
"My crew did an amazing job in the pit stops,” said the 2018 Indy Lights champion, who was classified as an Indy 500 rookie, after his DNQ in 2019. “We were fighting up there with Dixon, Rossi and Takuma Sato – great job to him.
“Toward the end, we just didn’t have enough to get those in front of us. I think we juiced out the car and got everything out of it.
“We were right behind Josef [Newgarden] in fifth for Chevrolet, so I think it was a good job for my first-ever Indy 500. Obviously, here the only thing that matters is winning. I’m excited to come back next year and try and get that win, as this place is pretty special.”
Fernando Alonso, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images
Alonso’s return to the Brickyard ended in disappointment, finishing 21st and a lap down, after going off-strategy initially like Askew and three of the Penske entries, but struggling to capitalize, partly due to a clutch problem.
The two-time F1 world champion explained: “We were struggling from the very beginning with the balance of the car with a lot of oversteer. We kept changing that balance in the pit stops, reducing the front flap, doing tire adjustments, and then we started to be happy with the car. We were up to P15 around Lap 110, which is where we wanted to be…
“Then we had a clutch problem on the car that we didn’t know how to solve. We finished the race without the clutch, so from that point on, every pit stop we had to push the car, engage the gear and go. That cost us a lap and unfortunately, we kept that lap down until the end and we could not achieve anything more.
“I’m happy to finish the race, cross the line and have one 500 miles in the pocket, that’s the positive thing. The negative is that we were out of contention very quickly with the clutch problem.
“Anyway, I think the Arrow McLaren SP team was fantastic during the race. The strategy and pit stops meant we were always gaining positions. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done over the last couple of weeks. We tried to race, but luck was not with us today, but I’m proud of the effort from everyone in the team.”
Alonso has already ruled out Indy 500 attempts in 2021 and ’22 because he will be returning to Formula 1 with Renault, replacing McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.