Photo: Josef Newgarden may not have had the fastest car, but he had the best looking one. Photo by Chris Owens, indycar
The Bommarito Autuomotive Group 500 last night was many things. It was messy, it was great racing, it was processional, and it was dramatic. When six cars are knocked out of the race in the first 65 laps, you have to wonder if anyone will be left by the end. The race then settled down and Colton Herta, who had the fastest car took control on lap 139. behind him was a great battle for second and Takuma Sato and Romain Grosjean kept the crowd’s attention. Sato with a couple of close calls as he battled Ryan Hunter-Reay- they have tangled several times in the past- and Grosjean, in his first ever oval race, wowing the crowd with good passes and some anxious moves toward the outer wall. In the end, after Pato O’Ward’s best chance at catching winner Josef Newgarden’s car failed, it was a procession to the end.
The race changed after Herta’s third pit stop when the drive shaft broke on his out lap. That left Rossi as the only other driver to contend with Newgarden, although his car was not good after his last stop. Rossi crashed on lap 200, and O’Ward had one last chance to catch the leader on the final restart.
Saturday’s race was the second of the last three with six or more cars eliminated by contact. Two of the four title contenders, including Alex Palou, the points leader, were involved last night. It didn’t help either of them that the other two contenders finished 1-2. Just 43 points separate the top four in the standings with three races to go. The next race, Portland, has the always risky first turn, which has resulted in lots of car damage in the last two starts.
Josef Newgarden has won three of the six Indycar races since the series returned in 2017.
Foyt’s Best Track? World Wide Technology Raceway has produced great results for A. J. Foyt Racing the last five years. Last night Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth and led 18 laps. Dalton Kellett finished 12th. In 2019 tony Kanaan stood on the podium in 3rd, and in 2017, Conor Daly ended the race in fifth. Larry Foyt told in 2017 that the team found something about this track and whatever they learned still seems to work.
Changes at the Top- yesterday was a day of changing leadership. Not only did Pato O’Ward retake the lead in the Indycar standings, David Malukas is the new leader in Indy lights after sweeping the two races this weekend. Whether they can stay on top is going to be exciting to watch.
Lots of Beer, Little Food– It seems the beer vendors decidedly outnumbered the food vendors Saturday by at least two to one. i saw mostly barbecue and the standard track fare of burgers and little else. But if you wanted a beer or other adult beverage, a booth was always in arm’s reach. It seems to me that there were more food vendors in previous years. The event is supposed to be growing, and Indycar will be back for five more years. It’s an area th track needs to give attention to.
Scott Mclaughlin increased his lead over Romain Grosjean for Rookie of the Year to 23 points with his fourth place finish last night. I still think Grosjean will be ahead going into the season finale at Long Beach.
Thanks for following along on this hectic weekend. I am going to take a break for a couple of days unless something major happens, like F1 replacing the Japanese Grand Prix with an oval race at IMS.
2 thoughts on “Bommarito 500 – The Race of Many Faces”
Mike – always enjoy reading your summaries. In the post race interviews Colton said that his half shaft broke while he was on track and that’s what precipitated his early pit stop – according to him it didn’t break during the pit stop as the announcers first speculated.
Hate to see that much attrition, but I do enjoy seeing the championship tighten up – looks like it will probably go down to Long Beach yet again, and that keeps it all exciting!
Thanks for reading Greg. I heard Gerta on the radio talk about it as he was pitting. It was wild. I’m interested in how Palou will respond..
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