O’Ward started the race in 12th and quickly worked his way into the leading pack, leading 17 laps and running inside the top three places for the majority of the 200-lap race.
However, the winner of IndyCar’s second Texas race slipped to fourth on the final lap after 2019 Indy 500 victor Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske car blasted past him on the back stretch.
O’Ward, who failed to qualify with Carlin in 2019, explained that he had “a perfect race”, but reckoned there is still had more to come from the team.
“We were in the fight all day,” said O’Ward.
“I think we had a perfect race, we just weren’t fast enough in the end.
“When they let us loose, I couldn’t quite catch Alex [Palou] and Helio [Castroneves, race winner]. We’ve got work to do for when we come back next year.
“Obviously, it burns a little bit to lose the third position on the last lap but I was trying everything I could to try and win this thing for the Arrow McLaren SP team. We will come back next race and hopefully do better.
“We should be very proud of the work we did but there is definitely more to be done.”
Patricio O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images
His temporary team-mate, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, also scored a top-10 finish with a solid run to ninth place.
“It was a lot of fun and we had a really good car,” said Montoya.
“We had great strategy and a great race car. It’s a shame, we were ahead of Simon [Pagenaud] most of the day, the #22 car and he finished third.
“We definitely had the car to be in the top five. We race hard, we try hard and we do the best we can. For being a one-off race, it’s been pretty cool.”
The third Arrow McLaren SP entry of Felix Rosenqvist also led seven laps, but this was due to running an alternate strategy after a pitlane speeding penalty early on. He was forced to pit from the lead with just seven laps to go and ended up finishing 27th.
“We gambled on a fuel-save strategy to give us a yellow in the end, but it didn’t come, [and] that was it,” he said.