Carlin Racing announced today that Conor Daly will drive the 59 car at both the ABC Supply Co. 500 at Pocono and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500k at World Wide Technology Raceway. From Carlin’s Twitter page:
Daly will have driven in every oval on the 2019 schedule. He drove for Andretti Autosport in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, finishing 10th. Daly also drove for Carlin at Texas and Iowa.He finished 11th at Texas and 13th at Iowa. He finished fifth in 2017 driving for A. J. Foyt Racing in the inaugural race at Gateway.
Daly will return to Andretti in the season finale at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca. His seven races this year is the most he has driven since his season with Foyt.
As if we needed more evidence that Gateway Motorsports gets it, today’s announcement provides it. Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, and Vintage Racing also return. The two day event will be very similar to a weekend at a road course with non stop action. More ovals need this type of programming.. The official announcement:
INDYCAR to be joined by NASCAR K&N Pro Series on August 24
November 28, 2018, St. Louis Region – Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois today announced its second doubleheader of the 2019 season: INDYCAR and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series will race on the same track on the same day. The cars and stars of the Indianapolis 500 will be joined by NASCAR’s future heroes on Saturday, August 24, 2019.
All three of NASCAR’s 2018 champions – Joey Logano (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), Tyler Reddick (Xfinity Series) and Brett Moffitt (NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series) – won their first NASCAR races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Gateway Motorsports Park Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Blair made the announcement after speedway Owner and CEO Curtis Francois signed the sanctioning agreement.
“Our slogan for 2019 is ‘Action is the attraction’ and this doubleheader will be the second of our 2019 season,” Blair said. “ The combination of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combo race – two races on the same track on the same day – delivers on our promise.”
The first doubleheader of the 2019 season will be the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series-ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards combo on Saturday, June 22.
“We are offering more racing than ever before on our INDYCAR Weekend,” Blair added. “Gateway fans will see the third annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 INDYCAR race, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Indy Lights, the Pro Mazda Series and vintage Indy Car racing over one two-day weekend here next year.”
Derek Kraus of Stratford, Wisconsin, won GMP’s inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combo race, the 2018 Monaco Cocktails Gateway Classic presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
To purchase tickets or obtain additional information on Gateway Motorsports Park, please call (618) 215-8888 or visit www.gatewaymsp.com. Follow GMP on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
About Gateway Motorsports Park
Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. Gateway Motorsports Park was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association.
Autosport reports this afternoon the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving has shut its doors. Bondurant began a school for race drivers in the early 60’s after an injury during a race ended his driving career. Bill Shaw, Wilbur’s son, was an instructor at the school.
Celebrities like Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise Tim Allen, and Nicholas Cage attended the driving school. A huge number of racing drivers also took instruction there. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Rick Mears were some of the many racing starts who honed their craft at the Bondurant School.
The Chandler, Arizona, site was also the venue for the Road to Indy shootout, which now needs to find another location soon. The shootout is scheduled for December 8 and 9.
Portland, St. Pete Ticket Renewal Periods Begin
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and The Grand Prix of Portland have opened ticket renewal periods. Fans who purchased tickets last year can renew or change seat locations before the general public sale begins.
Miles Flying to Australia
Mark Miles is flying to Australia to investigate the possibility of Indycar returning to Surfer’s Paradise. The premiere of Queensland, Annasacia Palaszaczuk, expressed interest in hosting an Indycar race during Will Power’s trip to his homeland. Power referred her to Miles.
Surfer’s Paradise was always a fun race to watch, especially when it was the season opener.
Norman Returns to Andretti Indy Lights Ride
Ryan Norman has re-signed with Andretti Autosport for a third season in Indy Lights. Norman showed marked improvement last year. He won the pole for the Freedom 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and won the race at Gateway Motorsports Park after a spirited duel with Colton Herta.
Wickens Loses the Back Brace
In a new Instagram video from Robert Wickens, he discards the back brace he has worn virtually since he was injured. Here is the link to the video:
Another successful event at Gateway Motorsports Park ended with a race that had something for everyone. Will Power grabbed his third win of the season, closing some ground on points leader Scott Dixon. There were a couple of passes for the lead, pit strategy, and fuel saving. A driver charged from deep in the pack to earn a top five. The surprise was that it wasn’t Alexander Rossi or Sebastien Bourdais. As is typical of night races, the complexion changed as the track cooled.
Fortunately, setting the field by points did not affect the results. That is always a concern when the starting grid is set with no regard to speeds on a particular weekend. It was evident that Power had tje best car from the green flag when he jumped into second place behind Dixon as Rossi had an unusually bad start. Rossi at one point fell all the way back to eighth.
Drive of the Race
While positions remained fixed at the front, Zach Veach charged to tenth from sixteenth. He would remain in the top ten the rest of the evening and lead his first career laps before finishing fifth. Veach has four consecutive top ten finishes. Saturday was his second top five this year. Veach got credit for helping Andretti Autosport set up their cars for Pocono from Rossi in Victory Lane. He should be even stronger next year.
Caution Sets Up Fuel Run
The second caution on lap 173 for Ryan Hunter-Reay’s stalled car caused everyone to re-figure pit stops. The race went back to green with a distance remaining that was a bit too long to make the end on a full tank. Rossi was one of only three cars to not make a fourth stop. He has becoming a fuel saving master on the same level as Dixon and Power. He salvaged second as Dixon was indecisive on whether to save or go wide open. meanwhile, power had stopped with 17 laps left and go full speed.
Several cars, including Power, tried to pass on the outside going into turn 1 and ended up getting very close to the wall. Rossi slid in turn 2 and appeared to be heading straight for the wall before getting the car under control. It must have made some dirt car drivers jealous. He lost the race by 1.3 seconds. The margin would have been closer if not for that adventure.
Gateway Hits Another Home Run
Gateway Motorsports park and the Bommarito Group put on a much improved event. They took feedback from 2017 and put more than 1 million dollars into making the fan experience better. There were many more food vendors, including several food trucks with quite a variety of offerings. The widened drive and paved parking made leaving smoother. My group was on the highway in about twelve minutes.
A couple things they might consider for next year- many workers still did not know where to redeem paddock vouchers for wristbands nor which seats were general admission. The track also could establish a number to text if a fan has an issue. There were people smoking in the grandstands in spite of signs prohibiting it.
Overall, this group knows how to promote and put on a race.
Sebastien Bourdais sits on track after hitting the wall on lap 1.
The first two rows line up on the backstretch for the start.
Thoughts still with Robert Wickens. Thanks to everyone at the track who wore Wickens gear or red today.
Much was improved as far as fan experience. Leaving the track for my group was fast and easy. We were on the highway 12 minutes after getting into the car. There were more food vendors, at least double the number from last year. Water was readily available. I assume even more improvements will come next year.
The second part of the race after the lap 183 restart was fun. Cars could finally pass and fuel strategy came into play.
Another great run for Zach Veach. He moved up steadily all night and led at one point.
Spencer Pigot also had a good race.
Passing in the first half of the race was due to mistakes by the drivers ahead. Quite a few in one race.
Power gained some points on Dixon, but not as many as he needed to. He will have to win out and hope Dixon finishes out of the top ten.
For a while Ed Jones was doing what Dixon’s teammate should do. He got between Dixon and the driver chasing him for the title. Too bad he couldn’t hold on to the end. He hasn’t done that much this year.
I still like Rossi’s chances to win the championship. If he can gain points on a night when his car was not that strong, I think he’s in good shape.
Did Dixon overthink his fuel strategy? Finishing third instead of second left seven points on the table.
Look for a full race recap on Wildfire Sports on Monday.
It’s race weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park as preparations for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 begin today with practice and qualifying. Indycar’s first practice is scheduled for !:15 ET and qualifying begins at 5:15 ET. Pro Mazda and Indy Lights also have practice and qualifying today. Weather could be a factor pushing the schedule back today.
In the track’s continuing efforts to improve the fan experience, Gateway has added a second paddock/pit voucher redemption location. Last year there was one location staffed by one person on Friday.
Follow the Pit Window on Twitter and Facebook for live updates including weather and schedule changes throughout the day. I will have my Quick Thoughts on Qualifying here early tomorrow morning and race thoughts posted Sunday. A full race recap will be on Wildfire Sports on Monday.
The Bommarito 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park could not have come at a better time. The entire Indycar community- fans, teams, drivers, crews- needs to get right back to a race after last Sunday. When Dan Wheldon lost his life in Las Vegas in 2011, it was the season finale. That made the pain worse as we all had to wait until the following spring to get back to a track.
In 2015, after Justin Wilson’s accident, Sonoma was the following week. It felt comforting to be back at the track so quickly and to be with many Indycar friends. I remember the subdued tone to the paddock that Friday at Sonoma. I’m keeping Robert Wickens in my thoughts still, but I will feel better when I get to the track Friday.
Friday the paddock again may not have its usual frenetic short weekend buzz, but by Saturday things should get back to normal. Once the green flag drops everyone will focus on the race. There is still a tremendous fight for the season championship going on. Scott Dixon will try to extend his shrinking lead over Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden, and Will Power.
The Bommarito Group is expecting another huge crowd this year. To address some issues from last year’s event, they have undertaken a $1.1 million project. A new entrance, wider roadways inside, and more parking are just some of the items added to help fans have an easier time at the track.
Iowa or Phoenix?
The big question is will we see a race like we saw at Phoenix with no passing or an action packed race like Iowa? The Gateway track sits between those two distance wise. The banking more resembles Phoenix, as does the narrowness of the racing surface. Perhaps the shorter distance and the aero tweaks since Phoenix will make for a better race. After Sebastien Bourdais tested here, he said he thought a pass could be made one on one, but passing would be difficult in a group of cars. That could prevent the leader from getting away from whomever is chasing him if he has trouble getting through lapped traffic. Rossi is the only driver who has consistently been able to pass cars on difficult tracks this year. Bourdais has also shown the ability to pass to a lesser degree.
Chevy or Honda?
Honda cars have won the last three oval events despite a Chevy winning the pole. I suspect that is what will happen Saturday. The Chevy cars have not been great in traffic on ovals, while some Hondas seem to be able to work around slower cars easier. Hondas also appear to be getting better fuel mileage. In a normal year, which this hasn’t been, I wold this should be a Chevy track. But then, Pocono and Texas should have been also.
Can Dixon Hang On?
This will be the week Dixon extends his lead. I don’t think it will grow by much, but he will finish ahead of the three drivers chasing him. I’m not sure one of the contenders will win Saturday’s race. I think Dixon will leave St. Louis with a lead big enough to hold through Portland next weekend and be the man to catch going to the Sonoma finale.
Will Veach Continue His Late Season Run?
Zach Veach has finished in the top ten the last three races and should make it four at Gateway. Veach also had a fourth place at Long Beach. He sounds very confident and is someone to watch for the rest of the year. Veach has shown some flashes of good driving which have been spoiled either by on track missteps or pit fires.
Gabby Chaves returns to the number 88 Harding racing entry this weekend. Chaves began the season as Harding’s regular driver, but Conor Daly stepped into the car in Toronto. Daly gave the team its best qualifying spot and finish there and also drove at Mid Ohio and Pocono as the team looks for developmental help.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will James Hinchcliffe as their only entry this weekend. The #6 car of Robert Wickens will return at Portland with a driver to be named.
This is a tough one to call, but I’m going to say Marco Andretti breaks his long drought. I have a perfect record this year (all wrong), so don’t bet the house on this.