Preview and Predictions: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

By: Spencer Neff
August 28, 2020

This weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series concludes their oval track portion of the 2020 schedule.

On Saturday and Sunday, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway will host 200-lap events, the second oval doubleheader and third doubleheader in 2020.

Headlines

After winning his second Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato will look to win at WWTR for the second straight year. Last year, Sato held off Ed Carpenter Racing Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter by .039 of a second to win last year.

“I was very proud of that moment,” he recalled. “It is good to return to defend our win after having just won the Indy 500 for a second time.”

Sato and his No. 30 RLLR team celebrate after winning at WWTR Gateway in 2019 (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

After a disappointing second-place finish last week, points leader Scott Dixon will look to further tighten his grip on the championship. Heading into this weekend, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver leads by 85 points over Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden. Unlike Newgarden, Dixon has yet to win at this track.

On the heels of his sixth-place finish and Rookie of the Year Award win, Arrow McLaren SP’s Patricio (Pato) O’Ward makes his IndyCar debut at the track.

“The last time I was at Gateway (World Wide Technology Raceway) was in 2018 with Indy Lights, and I had a solid run, finishing in third,” he recounted.

“The whole Arrow McLaren SP team is going to be pushing hard to get the best out of our cars and get to the top step of the podium this weekend. The hard work of the entire team paid off at Indy, and hopefully it will again.”

This weekend also marks the final races of Tony Kanaan’s “TK’s Last Lap” tour. Although he may return for next year’s Indianapolis 500 and beyond, the 2004 IRL Champion will step away following this weekend, which concludes his oval-only slate for 2020.

Tony Kanaan finished third in last year’s race (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

When I announced the TK Last Lap in January of this year, no one had an idea of what 2020 had in store for us, so being able to have fans at these last two races of my season is really special for me,” Kanaan reflected.

“I want to put on a good show for them and for the fans at home, as well.”

Before the weekend kicks off, here’s some info on the doubleheader.

Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, Aug. 28 – Sunday, Aug. 30


Track: World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Illinois

Race distance: 200 laps / 250 miles (each race)

Firestone tire allotment: Fourteen sets for use throughout the weekend

Twitter: @WWTRaceway, @IndyCar, #Bommarito500, #IndyCar

Event website: http://www.wwtraceway.com/

INDYCAR website: http://www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner: Takuma Sato (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda)

2019 NTT P1 Award winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet), 48.2554 seconds, 186.508 mph)

One-lap qualifying record: Will Power, 23.7206 seconds, 189.709 mph, Aug. 25, 2017

NBCSN television broadcasts: Race 1, 3 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 29 (live); Race 2, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 30 (live); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN telecasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: Friday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice session and Saturday’s qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query is the turn announcer, with Rob Howden, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES races are broadcast live on Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying is available on XM 205, IndyCar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (all times local): Friday, Aug. 28

4:30-6 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice #1, NBC Sports Gold (live)

Saturday, Aug. 29

Noon – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, Two laps (Lap 1/Race 1; Lap 2/Race 2), NBC Sports Gold (Live)
3 p.m. – NBCSN on air
3:40 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

3:45 p.m. – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta & Valvoline · Race 1 (200 laps/250 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Sunday, Aug. 30

3 p.m. – NBCSN on air
3:40 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
3:45 p.m. – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta & Valvoline · Race 2 (200 laps/250 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Spotter Guide: Race 1 Race 2

Predictions

Although this track and Iowa Speedway do not share the same characteristics, look for many of the same drivers who ran well at Iowa to do so here.

With the championship still a long-shot, having a strong weekend will be key for Newgarden. At one of his best tracks, Newgarden could easily pull off the weekend sweep. If Newgarden is unable to do so, Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will power could make it a Penske sweep of their own.

In addition, look for Conor Daly (Carlin) and Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan) to repeat their past success. Last year, Ferrucci led 97 laps as a rookie and finished fourth. In just two starts, Daly has finished fifth and sixth at WWTR.

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Published by Spencer Neff

I am a lifelong auto racing fan. Through IndyCar1909, I look forward to sharing my passion for the series and its illustrious history with you.

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