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DETROIT — It took eight races for the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season to see a two-time winner. It was Pato O’Ward who steamrolled through the field to win his second race of the season.

O’Ward was fast in the closing laps picking off drivers in two late restarts and taking advantage of degrading tires from Josef Newgarden, who he passed for the lead with three laps to go.

O’Ward’s win is also his second of his career and snaps a streak for different winners that ties the overall record of seven different winners in a single season’s first seven races.

“I’ve had such a great car all weekend,” “It was my fault that we started further back, but man I am so excited to get this. I talked to Felix (Rosenqvist) before the race. This one is for him.”

Rosenqvist, O’Ward’s Arrow Mclaren SP teammate, did not take part in Race 2 after his hard crash in Race 1 the day before that resulted in a trip to the hospital. Oliver Askew stepped in for Rosenqvist but retired early with engine issues.

Newgarden was certainly dejected with his second-place podium finish as his tires just couldn’t carry him to the end.

“I think we had the car to beat,” Newgarden said. “The cautions didn’t fall the way we needed them. It was the cautions that killed us. It is what it is, but it just didn’t fall our way.”

Newgarden was the pole sitter and started the race on primary black tires, and was the clear pacesetter early leading every lap of the race except the last three.

When Dalton Kellett had issues with his car at the pit exit, it was unclear if IndyCar would throw a caution. Newgarden wished to go longer on his first stint on black tires, but unwilling to risk the caution coming out his team pitted him sooner than planned for another set of black tires.

This meant Newgarden would have to run the required and slower red tires in his final stint. he felt the pressure from Colton Herta inside ten laps to go, but the charging O’Ward, who moved up 16 spots to the lead, spoiled Herta’s hopes of winning and did the same to Newgarden with three laps left.

The unfortunate ending for Newgarden makes it the first time since 2013 that Team Penske has gone the first eight races of the season without any of their drivers nothing a win.

Alex Palou also got around Herta to claim the third and final spot on the podium, narrowing the cushion between him and O’Ward in the point standings.

As the series heads to Road America in Wisconsin next weekend, the win in Detroit gives O’Ward the overall lead in the points by one point over Palou. Scott Dixon, who finished seventh is now 35-points back from Palou in third.

The pressure is mounting for Team Penske to get a win as the series enters the second half of the season at Road America next week. Josef Newgarden is once again the top Penske driver in the championship standings in fourth.