COTA Hosts Big Race

5 questions with driver Patricio O'Ward leading in to the Austin IndyCar Classic

Today, I got to talk to one of the rising stars of Indycar, Mexico and Texas Native Patricio O'Ward. This young man has been extremely impressive, last season in his debut in Sonoma as he was able to finish in the top ten with a ninth place effort. I was lucky enough to talk to this young phenom about this weekend's race in Austin as well as some of the other tracks on the schedule including the Indy 500.

Q: So it's a new season with a new team at Carlin racing. First and foremost how is everything going?

O'Ward: It's going fairly well so far. We got to test in Alabama at Barbara Motorsports Park last week, so that was the first test day I got to do in the car and everything felt pretty good so we are excited for this weekend. I know the expectations are really high with this being kind of a home Grand Prix for me so it's definitely going to be an eventful one but I am certainly looking forward to it.

Q: Last year at Sonoma we saw you go out have an outstanding qualifying effort and an equally impressive finish, does any bit of your experience from this track kind of translate over to Circuit of the Americas even though they are vastly different race tracks?

O'Ward: I guess the experience is definitely going to help. Every track is different, Austin is very difficult because it has a little bit of everything so it's hard to get everything perfect. It's all a little bit green to me but, I think we will be OK. the team wants to win, I wanna win so that's usually a good formula to start with.

Q: Overall at COTA, is there any part of the racetrack that fans should watch out for? If so which part would that be?

O'Ward: I think Turn 12 is definitely going to be a very big passing zone because that's the hardest breaking zone in the circuit. Maybe up into turn 1 where cars are coming out of the pits and other cars are on track, but I think the heavy breaking zones are definitely the places to watch, that is where you will see the most passing I think.

Q: Is there any race in the future that you would like to race that might not just be indycar?

O'Ward: Being A race-car driver, I would love to experience new things so doing well in the IndyCar and winning the Indy 500, and then try and win some of the other prestigious races like the 24 hours of Le Mans, maybe the Monaco Grand Prix in F1. Just some of the races that not so many people get to do would make it all the much more special.

Q: Speaking of the Indy 500, you will be making your debut in this race; do you have any expectations or goals for this race?

O'ward: I think in that race, it's important to keep everything clean because a lot of the time, it comes down to luck. If you have some pace and there is luck on your side with yellow's you can come out winning the thing, so I think just having a good clean race is going to be the key.

You can hear the whole interview above.

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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