Pato O’Ward was the driver that gained the most positions in Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 from Mid-Ohio, and he used a three stop strategy to get it done.

O’Ward started near the back of the field due to a self-inflicted penalty in qualifying the day before.

The Mexican driver was a bit too overzealous with the throttle and spun into the grass in the opening qualifying session. Per IndyCar rules, he was forced to abandon qualifying and had to start from 25th.

His Arrow McLaren team chose to make an extra pit stop during the 80-lap race, in order to allow O’Ward to push hard on his tires throughout the afternoon.

The strategy worked remarkably well, and the 24-year-old had made his way up into the top five positions by time the halfway point arrived.

He lost a bit of ground once his extra pit stop time loss was factored in, and he ended the day in eighth, a full 17 positions ahead of where he started.

Speaking to NBC after the race, O’Ward was worn out but pleased that he was able to fight his way so far up the field.

“I was comfortable, I was happy,” said O’Ward. “We didn’t have help from anybody. No yellows, no lappers, no nothing. I saw the leaders were struggling with the lappers a little bit.

“I’m happy with our result, considering we truly had to fight for every single position. We passed almost every single car on track. There wasn’t one lap that went through that we weren’t pushing to the absolute maximum. So yeah, pleased with that.

“I had a few moments. I’m going to have myself a nice, big ole burger tonight. Some french fries and chocolate ice cream too!”

A common sight was O’Ward setting up another pass. Photo: Kevin Dejewski

O’Ward was one of the only drivers that was truly on a three stop strategy, and was certainly the one that put it to best use.

Having a fast car, which was good enough to be in the top five for bot practice sessions, certainly helped make the strategy work on Sunday.

O’Ward now sits fifth in the points standings, with very little between him and the next three drivers in front of him. Alex Palou, however, holds a commanding lead at the top of the table.

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