Pato O’Ward Says IndyCar Needs to Change, 'Rattle People's Floor'

pato oward indycar
O'Ward: IndyCar Needs to Change, Rattle Some CagesPenske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski
  • IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward calls on officials to find that ‘something missing’ when it comes to expanding the sport’s reach and relevance.

  • He says IndyCar needs to grow exponentially, not in small increments.

  • ‘I know it can be so much more successful than what it is now,’ the 24-year-old, seventh-year driver says.

Change, Pato O'Ward said, “will usually kind of rattle people's floor.

"Like, it'll kind of move things around. Some people will like it; some people won't like it. But when you don't evolve and when you don't change, you sure as hell will not grow. The only way to doing that is to change things up."


The driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, who will begin his seventh year in the NTT IndyCar Series March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, said change is what the sport needs.

“Having a good product, yes, that is important,” O’Ward said. But ultimately... you want people to be a part of something that's just not race cars going around.”

The product, he said during the recent IndyCar Content Days event at Indianapolis, isn’t the issue.

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Racing on the streets of Nashville is great, but if IndyCar wants to get bigger, it needs to think bigger, says driver Pato O’Ward.Penske Entertainment/Chris Owens

“The racing is unbelievable. The racing is so good,” he said, “but there is something missing that we have yet quite to crack. And I think there's a lot of examples in motorsports that have shown growth. Every series is different, but you see how other series grow. See what is working for them, what is causing that to happen.”

Just before he made his fourth appearance at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and powered the Mission Foods United Autosports entry to a sixth-place finish in the LMP2 class, O’Ward told Autoweek his comments are motivated by passion.

“I care for the series, and I feel like a lot of the things that I say in my observations of what's going on, it's all come from a good place, because I care for IndyCar as a series so much that I want to see it succeed. And I know it can be so much more successful than what it is now,” he said.

“We really need to pinpoint what's part of the formula that maybe right now isn't the greatest, and we need to attack that. But in order to do that, we got to give it some love,” he said. “And everybody has to be involved, not just leadership. The drivers have to be on top of it. The teams have to be on top of it, and it really has to be a team work in order to make it better and better and better. And that's what we should be striving for. We shouldn't be wanting to just stay where we're at.

“I do everything in my power to expand the reach of the series, to expand the reach of people watching and people coming to IndyCar race and enjoying that. And I think I've done my part as much or even more than anybody else in the series. But we can't seem to really gain attraction to shoot up like we've seen maybe with Formula 1 and others,” O’Ward said.