INDIANAPOLIS — Pato O’Ward enters the month of May ready for a championship run with Arrow McLaren.

The reigning oval champion won his first race of the season on May 1 at Barber Motorsports Park. The victory was also the team’s first this year.

“You gotta take it session by session, lap by lap,” said O’Ward. “That’s what we did at Barber and it paid off.”

O’Ward was frustrated with his and the team’s performance at the beginning of the season, finishing fifth, twelfth, and fifteenth before Barber.

“Being a racing driver, you want everything quick and now but sometimes you have to sit back and take it as they come,” said O’Ward.

“It’s such a competitive series with a lot of drivers, a lot of teams, and we didn’t execute the way we needed to and that’s the most frustrating thing.”

It’s safe to say O’Ward has momentum heading into the other two May races. Ever since winning the oval title last season, he was pegged as a favorite to win the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500. Now, O’Ward is firmly a contender, hopeful for his first win in Indianapolis.

“Ever since you were a kid, you watched the 500. You see the guys who won it. You can tell it’s unlike anything else,” said O’Ward. “It’s the crown jewel, the cookie everybody wants. We were close last year and we were close in 2020. Every year we get closer – so hopefully this year we can get a few positions better.”

First and foremost, the goal is for good placement at Saturday’s Grand Prix.