DETROIT (AP) — Pato O’Ward had tears triggered following the Indianapolis 500 after pushing the No. 5 Honda to the limits only to come up just short, getting passed two corners from the finish by Josef Newgarden.

“What I had to do in order to get that car forward, that’s what ultimately made it just so emotional,” O’Ward said Friday. “I couldn’t have done more. I gave it everything I had.”

The 25-year-old Mexican, who was vying to become the first from his country to win the Indy 500 last Sunday, said he had no regrets about his race strategy and ultimately was proud of his second-place finish.

“It almost pretty much felt like a win, right?” he asked. “But obviously it just burns whenever you know that you didn’t quite get the win.”

O’Ward will have a chance to bounce back, driving in the Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday, when he will aim to become IndyCar’s first two-time winner this season. He was declared the winner of the season-opening race after it was determined that Newgarden illegally used extra boosts of horsepower to win in March.

BUMPS IN THE ROAD

IndyCar points leader Alex Palou was critical of the Detroit Grand Prix’s short and bumpy street course before he won last year’s race.

“Everybody knows that I was not probably the biggest fan,” he said before a practice run this week.

The defending IndyCar champion didn’t feel much differently after getting a chance to see and feel the surfacing changes on the nine-turn, 1.6 mile circuit.

“If they added four or five more corners, which is 50% of what we have now, it would be better,” he said.

The Detroit Grand Prix provides a stark contrast from the Brickyard’s 2.5-mile smooth oval, which Will Power compared to walking a tightrope.

What it’s like to race in the Motor City?

“It’s like a bucking bull,” Power said.

BLOMQVIST BENCHED

Helio Castroneves insisted replacing Tom Blomqvist in the No. 66 Honda for the next two races is not a reflection of Meyer Shank Racing losing faith in the 30-year-old driver in his first full IndyCar season.

After Blomqvist was part of an opening-lap crash at the Indy 500 and dropped to 24th in points, though, Castroneves said it was time for a change.

“We have to stop the bleeding right now,” said Castroneves, who is part of Meyer Shank Racing’s ownership group.

Castroneves finished 20th at the Indy 500, a race he won four times, in his IndyCar season debut last Sunday.

He climbed a fence for the first time to celebrate a win nearly 24 years ago in Detroit, where he has won three times to tie a race record with Power and Scott Dixon.

“A place I have good memories,” Castroneves said. “Hopefully, we get a better memory on Sunday.”

SHIFTING GEARS

With five winners in five races and the IndyCar 500 in the rear mirror, the chase for the championship comes more into focus.

“This is the next chapter in a long book for the year,” said Newgarden, who is seventh in points in the 17-race season. “I think we’ve got plenty opportunity to be there in the end.”

MOTOR CITY MOMENTUM

A little more than a month after Detroit drew record crowds to the NFL draft, grandstand tickets were sold out for the Detroit Grand Prix and the event features some access points for fans to witness the spectacle for free.

The IndyCar race is in its second year back on downtown streets after being held at nearby Belle Isle, providing more of a boost for local businesses while still showing the city in a favorable light on TV.

Roger Penske, who lives in the Detroit area, has been amazed at how far the area has come since he helped to drive the Super Bowl to the Motor City in 2006.

“It’s a renaissance,” he said.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing