The Podium of Redemption- Quick Thoughts on the Bommarito Automotive Group 500

Three drivers who needed a good result got the best results possible. Takuma Sato, maligned as the cause of the first lap crash at Pocono; Ed Carpenter, in his final race of the year and some questioning whether he should step out of the car; and Tony Kanaan, whose best finish to date was a quiet eighth, stood proudly on the podium after The Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

Each of these drivers needed a good finish and they couldn’t have asked for more.

Josef Newgarden placed more distance between himself and his closest rivals.

Santino Ferrucci had the drive of the day. He led the most laps and made some incredible passes. It’s a shame the pit stops and yellows fell the way they did.

There was a great four way battle for the lead in the middle of the race with Ferrucci, Sebastien Bourdais, Newgarden, and Rossi.

In spite of all the yellows, some of which were a bit too long, this was a great race. The race had lots of passing, on track lead changes, pit strategy, and a close finish.

Sato has had a strange season- strong early, then a terrible middle, then he rebounds with another win.  He has two wins and a pole in this weird season.

Conor Daly grabs another top ten. I hope Carlin puts him in the car full time next year. He again shows that he can get the most out of a car.

Carpenter finishes his oval season with two straight top tens and three overall.

I can’t remember a race in which Will Power finished last and Scott Dixon finished 20th.  Dixon’s chance of winning the title may have suffered a fatal blow tonight.

Ferrucci now leads the rookie standings by two points over Felix Rosenqvist.

Five drivers in the top ten started 17th or worse.

I will update this post later.

Thanks for following along the last two days.

 

 

 

 

Mid Day at World Wide Technology Raceway

We are four hours away from race time. There s a fairly decent crowd here already. Currently on track Indy Lights is 13 laps into their 75 lap race. A caution is out for a spin by Toby Sowery. Rinus VeeKay leads.

I arrived at the track  around 1 pm. The paddock was empty and all the equipment was under cover. The tires emitted that distinct rubber smell. The silence was eerie. Activity soon picked up and the track regained its usual energy.

I took some time to get a close look at the vintage cars. It was a trip down memory lane. Here are some photos. I did see ALL of these cars race, but I did see a lot of them on track.

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Steering wheel of a 1933 racer

I am still looking for the Stanley Cup.  That is my next mission. I will try to post again just before the race, but will definitely have Quick Thoughts up tonight.

Race Day at Gateway

Good morning, race fans. We are about 10 hours away from the green flag for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. The weather looks ideal for racing with the temperature in the high 70s at race time.

This race will determine what kind of championship fight we have for the last two races of the year. Can Josef Newgarden extend his lead to a comfortable margin or will Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, and Scott Dixon close the gap?

Here a few photos from yesterday. One had a legend sitting in another legend’s car.

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Daly Fastest in Final Practice

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Conor Daly recorded the fastest lap in tonight’s final practice for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 with a speed of 181.931. Daly turned his best lap late in the session, bettering a 181.312 circuit by Josef Newgarden about halfway through the hour long practice. Zach Veach had led early with a lap 0f 181.033. Veach’s lap was still good enough for third place in tonight’s practice.

The practice was green until Charlie Kimball brushed the wall in turn 4 with about six minutes remaining. He slowed and rolled down the front stretch, coming to a stop at the start/finish line.  The session was ended with about three minutes to go.

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Charlie Kimball  after brushing the wall in turn 4

Newgarden, the NTT Indycar Series points leader, reported a misfire toward the end of practice. The team is installing a new engine according to reports. As for the other championship contenders, Scott Dixon was sixth,  Simon Pagenaud seventh, and Alexander Rossi eighth. Rossi struggled early then found some speed late in the session.

Ed Carpenter continues to struggle. He was last in tonight’s practice after qualifying 17th.

Notes

The crowd today seemed smaller than the Friday crowds of the previous two years.

The matte black finish of Felix Rosenqvist’s car is disappointing. A gloss finish would have bee better. It doesn’t present well under the lights.

I am hoping the rubber laid down by the Indy Pro 2000 and Indy Lights Series will help establish a second lane for passing. I think getting around someone will be difficult tomorrow night.

The vintage car laps were great until one of them oiled down the track. I love this part of the day, but maybe scheduling it just before qualifying may not be the best idea.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a pre race edition around midday and my Quick Thoughts after the race. Look for a full race report on Wildfire Sports Sunday night.

 

Quick Thoughts- Bommarito 500 Qualifying

Photo: Kyle McInnes

That was a very exciting qualifying session. Any time the pole is decided on the last lap adds drama to the day.

It must have been a great moment for Dale Coyne’s team to have both his cars on the front row for a few minutes.

Disappointed that the NTT IndyCar Series didn’t delay qualifying. and completely clean up the oil dry. The first ten cars to qualify were at a distinct disadvantage. I’m not saying one of them would have won the pole, but a fairer run might have helped them gain a spot or two.

Sanction Ferrucci qualified sixth after leading the early practice session. He was P 1 during qualifying for a few minutes until teammate Sebastien  Bourdais nipped him.

The top ten is a surprise outside of the expected Penskes’s top positions. Both Coyne cars, both Ganassi cars and only one from Andretti fill half of the top of the grid.

Josef Newgarden is in a position to take firm control of the championship tomorrow night. Alexander Rossi needs to get through the first lap cleanly.  Pit strategy will be an important factor in tomorrow’s outcome.

The way today’s action played out is why I prefer a draw or order based on practice speeds for oval qualifying. The series says the order system is part of the consistency they seek. Road and street course groups are based on practice speeds. Wouldn’t it be more consistent to base oval qualifying order on practice speeds as well?

If a title contender were to be one of the first to go out, that could make the race more interesting. Would the series let Newgarden or Rossi or one of the other contenders go out wit oil dry not completely cleaned up?

 

 

 

Ferrucci Quickest in First Practice

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Santino Ferrucci added to the outstanding resume of the 2019 rookie class as he led the pre qualification practice for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Ferrucci’ s best lap was  184.804 miles per hour. Rookie Marcus Ericsson was second quick at 184.527. Scott Dixon finished third.

The session began with all three Team Penske cars, led by Josef Newgarden, occupying the top three spots. Colton Herta briefly took the lead. Newgarden reclaimed first place a few minutes later.

The Penskes stopped getting faster and Hondas took over. Newgarden finished fourth, Will Power seventh, and Simon Pagenaud 14th. Newgarden and Power were the only Chevy’s in the top ten.

Next up is qualifying at 6:15 ET. Back with my Quick Thoughts afterwards.

Indycar’s Last Oval Weekend of the Year Begins

Good morning . Today begins a bittersweet weekend. Practice and qualifying for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is today.  The event produces mixed feelings. It’s exciting because this race is a great event and it is an oval race. It’s sad because it is the final oval of the year and one of the final three races of the season.

Today’s schedule- All times CDT:

1-2 Practice. NBC Gold

5:15 Qualifying NBCSN

8:15-9:15 Final Practice NBC Gold

Last night at Busch Stadium Josef Newgarden started the Indycar weekend by throwing out the first pitch before the St. Louis Cardinals- Colorado Rockies game.IMG_20190822_190713

Watch for session up dates here throughout the day.