By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
Carlin announced today that 2018 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Pato O’Ward will join the team in a 13 race deal for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season.
O’Ward previously was slated to compete full time for Harding-Steinbrenner Racing but that deal fell through only a month before the season began. This deal will see O’Ward compete in the races fellow Carlin driver Charlie Kimball will sit out and the Mexican will also race for Carlin in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in a third entry alongside Kimball and full time Carlin driver Max Chilton.
O’Ward’s debut will come at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 24th. The only races he will miss are the season opener at St. Petersburg, Texas Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and WetatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I’m so excited to get this 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season underway and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his Indy car team and Team Chevy,” O’Ward said. “I’m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me, and I’ll give it my all to show them that I’m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA.”
Team principal Trevor Carlin has had his fair share of talent come through his Indy Lights program before temporarily shuttering it to focus more on his Indy car commitments. Having worked with Ed Jones, Chilton, Zachary Claman De Melo and Matheus Leist, Carlin has seen his cars perform well in the hands of youngsters and will be looking to move up the grid with O’Ward.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented drivers over the years, many of whom now race in the NTT IndyCar Series, Formula One and Formula E to name a few, and in Pato I really see a spark similar to some of our highest achieving alumni,” said Carlin. “He’s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential. As a young Chevy team, we are incredibly driven and excited to help him achieve his goals in this 2019 program.”
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg kicks off the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series on March 10th with the command to start engines at 1:30 in the afternoon ET. The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 12:30 ET.