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(Photo © Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment)

Catching Up With: IndyCar Star Pato O'Ward!

Written by Lesley Robins. Published: May 26 2023


Patricio "Pato" O’Ward is the young, popular IndyCar star who drives the Number 5 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren. Pato, who was named 2020 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, will start 5th in Row 2 at The 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 28, and goes into the race ranked second in the standings. We caught up with him ahead of the big race!


YH: Let’s get the big Indy 500 question out of the way first. Last year, you came in second. How did you recover emotionally from coming so close to winning, and what do you think you have to do differently this year to land in the top spot?

POW: I don’t dwell on it. The moment I stepped out of the race car is the moment I started preparing for this year’s Indy 500.


YH: You’re a TV star now. You’re a big part of the docuseries “100 Days to Indy” by VICE Media and Penske that showcases the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the buildup to the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. What did you think of viewers seeing the raw side of IndyCar, and how do you think you came off in the series?

POW: I think VICE has done a really nice job in keeping everything as it is, not putting any fake into it. They got an inside to what my life is like in Mexico and got to meet a lot of my family members, who are very special to me.


YH: Fitness is a big part of the deal as a racecar driver. I know you like boxing -- take me into the boxing ring with you. Why do you like this sport? How does it make you feel, and how do your opponents feel after they hit you?

POW: I don’t like to get hit. I only hit heavy bags and mitts, but it’s a very good workout. Creates lean muscle and the mobility aspect of it is very useful for daily life.


YH: What else keeps you in shape?

POW: Weight training and… that is it.


YH: We have to talk about food given the fact that you’re a foodie. Do you really have a list of favorite restaurants in your Notes app?

POW: Yes, I do. There are now over 36 different cities, not all in the U.S., and there are hundreds of restaurants on there.


YH: I heard you like sushi. Too bad we couldn’t do this interview over Japanese food. If we could, what would you order for the table?

POW: I’ll do any roll with salmon in it. I’d do tuna tartare, I’d do sashimi, I’d do rock shrimp, I’d do all kinds of exotic nigiris.


YH: It’s awesome to see you bring a bit of your home country and culture to the racetrack, and the fans are following. Being the only Mexican driver currently in the series, you’ve carved out a nice space for yourself with IndyCar fans. Talk to me about what your loyal following means to you.

POW: It’s amazing that we get to do this for a living. At the end of the day, we’re in entertainment, and I think the fans is what makes it even more special than what it already is.


YH: Speaking of Mexico, tell me about where you born and raised, and can we talk about Mexican beaches and food?

POW: I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. Not near the beach. The food is obviously unbelievable, Mexican food is the best cuisine. If I had to pick one cuisine for the rest of my life -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- for sure it would be Mexican.


Sounds delicious. Best of Luck, Pato!