By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Rookie IndyCar driver Patricio “Pato” O’Ward has parted ways with Harding Steinbrenner Racing. This move comes before the start of the NTT IndyCar Series season.
O’Ward was scheduled to make his full-time debut with the team before this move was made on Monday. While O’Ward lost his ride, the team will continue with Colton Herta for the season.
He asked for the team to release him. Since they were not able to operate a second car, the team released him from his contractual obligations.
“The Harding Steinbrenner Racing team supported my decision to seek a new opportunity by releasing me from my contract and allowing me the opportunity to find a new team before the start of the 2019 season,” O’Ward said in a team statement. “Now, I am fully focused on finding the right opportunity and how I will use my scholarship from Indy Lights for 2019.”
Now, O’Ward will have a $1 million scholarship, as the reigning Indy Lights champion to use with him when he goes to another team. He can use that for at least three races, including the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.
Last season, O’Ward competed in his first IndyCar race. He finished ninth in the Harding Group/Valvoline IndyCar that finished all 85 laps.
As an Indy Lights driver, O’Ward won nine events in 17 starts for Andretti Autosport. He had 13 podium finishes in those 17 starts.
His average start was 1.9 and his average finish was 2.4.
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