Race Weekend Central

O’Ward Keeps Grist at Bay for Freedom 90 Victory

Pato O’Ward ran with a shadow in the form of Garret Grist for the entire 90 laps of Friday’s Freedom 90 at Lucas Oil Raceway. However, O’Ward kept his rival at bay to claim his sixth Pro Mazda win in seven races.

Starting from the pole, O’Ward quickly shot out to a one-second lead in the opening laps at the .686-mile oval. Grist methodically cut that gap in half over the course of the opening 20 laps, but was unable to advance any further.

From that moment on, both O’Ward and Grist ran virtually the same times to the finish to ensure their one-two result.

The lone moment of excitement came around lap 50, as O’Ward caught the lapped car of Jake Eidson, but the Team Pelfrey driver disposed of Eidson quickly and efficiently to maintain his lead without issue.

“This race was definitely not easy at all,” said O’Ward. “I had pressure in the early laps, and then at the end I couldn’t really hit my points. But I’m just stoked and really happy for the Team Palfrey guys.”

With just eight cars in the field, the race proceeded with little action. The lone pass for position in the race’s 90 laps came from Grist, who passed Nicolas Dapero in the opening laps to take second.

From there to the finish, the grid remained unchanged.

Dapero ended the race with a hard-fought third; Jake Parsons and Aaron Telitz rounded out the top five. Will Owen, Nico Jamin and Eidson completed the rundown.

The Pro Mazda Championship tour will continue with Rounds Eight and Nine at Road America from June 24-26.

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

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