Archive for August, 2020

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)

Media links: Race 1 Entry List | Race 2 Entry List 

Firestone tire allotment: Fourteen sets for use throughout the weekend

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

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

INDYCAR website: 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 (4:30 pm ET) and Saturday’s qualifying (Noon) 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. 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)

Race notes:

  • The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta & Valvoline doubleheader will be the 11th and 12th Indy car race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Takuma Sato won the race in 2019. Paul Tracy won the first Indy car race at Gateway in 1997. Sato, Will Power (2018) and Josef Newgarden (2017) are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta & Valvoline will be the first doubleheader event at World Wide Technology Raceway and the 12th INDYCAR oval doubleheader held since 1967. The last doubleheader was in July at Iowa Speedway.
  • The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta & Valvoline will be the fifth and sixth oval races of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule. The previous oval races were won by Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway), Simon Pagenaud (Iowa Speedway-1), Josef Newgarden (Iowa Speedway-2) and Takuma Sato (Indianapolis Motor Speedway).
  • Three drivers have won at World Wide Technology Raceway from the pole – Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Gil de Ferran (2002) and Helio Castroneves (2003).
  • Team Penske has won five times at World Wide Technology Raceway. Penske’s winning drivers are Paul Tracy (1997), Gil de Ferran (2002), Helio Castroneves (2003), Josef Newgarden (2017) and Will Power (2018). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins at Gateway, with Alex Zanardi (1998) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2000).
  • Eighteen drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at World Wide Technology Park. Tony Kanaan has seven starts, most among the entered drivers. Fourteen entered drivers have led laps at the track (Scott Dixon 223, Josef Newgarden 220, Will Power 99, Santino Ferrucci 97, Takuma Sato 65, Kanaan 21, Simon Pagenaud 13, Colton Herta 10, Marco Andretti 4, Alexander Rossi 4, Marcus Ericsson 2, Zach Veach 2, Conor Daly 1 and Felix Rosenqvist 1).
  • Three rookies – Oliver Askew, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay – are expected to compete. All three rookies, plus Pato O’Ward and Jack Harvey, also will make their first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at World Wide Technology Raceway.

INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020) – Takuma Sato climbed to a higher level of immortality Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and becoming just the 20th driver to capture “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at least twice.

Sato, from Japan, won the race under caution in the No. 30 Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing when Spencer Pigot crashed in Turn 4 on Lap 195. Sato also won the race in 2017, with Andretti Autosport.

“This was the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan team,” Sato said on Victory Podium. “HPD and Honda gave us a lot of power, a lot fuel mileage. And my boys … they sacrifice a lot. I can’t thank all of the people (enough).”

Scott Dixon finished second in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda despite leading a race-high 111 laps. It was the third career Indy 500 runner-up finish for Dixon, a five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Graham Rahal helped RLLR to take two of the top three spots by finishing third in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda. Santino Ferrucci led a Honda sweep of the top four finishing positions by placing fourth in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda.

Two-time and reigning series champion Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five and was the top Chevrolet-powered finisher in the No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Team Penske Chevrolet.

Pato O’Ward was the top-placed rookie, finishing sixth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Sato and Dixon were locked in a stirring duel when Pigot crashed hard in Turn 4 at the end of Lap 195 as the leaders had started Lap 196, spinning and making contact with the SAFER Barrier on the outside and then slamming into the protective tire barrier at the head of the pit wall with the side of his No. 45 Hy-Vee/Embrace Pittsburgh Honda. Pigot was awake and alert and transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation.

The gap between Sato and Dixon rarely exceeded one second and was as close as three-tenths of a second after Sato inherited the lead on Lap 185 when Zach Veach pitted in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, on a different fuel sequence than the top cars.

Sato appeared to be home free on Lap 191, building a lead of .9515 of a second. But he was approaching the almost-lapped cars of A.J. Foyt Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball, which let Dixon close the gap.

On Lap 195, Sato cleared 2013 Indy 500 winner Kanaan while Dixon and Rahal remained behind the Brazilian. That expanded Sato’s gap to 1.173 seconds, but Dixon and Rahal lapped Kanaan just before Turn 1 on Lap 196, moments before Pigot’s race-ending crash.

“Huge congrats to Sato,” Dixon said. “He drove his pants off today.”

Nearly all of the lead cars made their final pit stops between Laps 167 and 170, narrowly close to the maximum laps possible with one tank of fuel under green flag conditions. Sato made his final stop on Lap 168, with Dixon pitting for the final time on Lap 169.

Sato then was able to hold off Dixon in a vigorous race for the virtual lead on the track, as the drivers ahead of them didn’t have enough fuel to finish the race without stopping.

“The fuel strategy was a bit tight,” Sato said. “I saw Scott was coming right through out of Turn 4, and he was screaming coming at me. And I just held him off.”

Still, Dixon thought Sato maybe made his final stop too soon and would be forced to pit late in the race for a splash of fuel, especially because Dixon was able to save fuel by driving in Sato’s slipstream. But that scenario never unfolded due to Pigot’s late accident.

“This is a hard one to swallow,” Dixon said. “On fuel mileage, I really can’t see how they were going to make it. We pitted a lap later, and the numbers they had to get, it was going to be very difficult.”

It was small consolation for Dixon, but he jumped from ninth to third on the all-time Indianapolis 500 lap leaders list with 563 career laps led, behind only Al Unser (644) and Ralph DePalma (612).

Sato continued an impressive run of recent success in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” with three top-three finishes in the last four years. Besides his wins today and in 2017, he finished third last year.

Two of the three front-row starters ended up in the top three at the finish, as Sato started third and Dixon second. Pole sitter Marco Andretti finished 13th in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda.

The 105th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 30, 2021. The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES event is a doubleheader Aug. 29-30, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has created the ultimate virtual destination for race fans to stay connected to the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge leading up to NBC’s live Race Day coverage Sunday, Aug. 23 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

The 104th Running Community Hub, which can be found at IMS.com/Community, encourages race fans to embrace the community-driven spirit of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in a smart, safe and healthy manner. These initiatives will help Hoosiers and Indiana businesses in need during these challenging times, including artists, local restaurants and more. It also includes several features that will get fans excited for 500 miles of racing, with a tune-in guide, the IMS Digital Archive and information on the Official Event Program.

“The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is an event that defines our city each and every year, and that remains true this year, even through the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this year’s event,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “The 104th Running Community Hub gives race fans many opportunities to embody the spirit of the Indianapolis 500 by supporting those within our community while also celebrating the greatest race in the world.”

One of the many community-related programs fans can participate in is #500Fashion, which features a different look this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but serves an even stronger purpose. Race fans are encouraged to adapt #500Fashion to their face masks to carry the spirit of the “500” in a smart, safe, healthy and fashionable manner. This is the perfect way for Hoosiers to join the State of Indiana’s #MaskUpHoosiers campaign that encourages everyone to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Race fans also can continue their participation in a fan-favorite Indy 500 initiative that features a more impactful twist – Welcome Race Fans. Each year, Indianapolis comes alive as Hoosiers celebrate the spirit of the Indy 500 and welcome race fans from around the world. This year’s Welcome Race Fans collaboration with the Arts Council of Indianapolis features five new works of art and several ways fans can support Central Indiana artists who have been severely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans can purchase exclusive “giclee” prints from all five years of Welcome Race Fans, as well as posters of this year’s artwork, with the proceeds benefitting local artists and the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

IMS and Susan Decker Media also are teaming up for an exciting initiative that encourages race fans to support local restaurants leading up to the 104th Indy 500 with a new program called 500 Fan Fuel. This two-week program features more than 80 restaurants in Central Indiana that are offering exclusive deals at some of race fans’ favorite eateries. When headed out of the house to these great local restaurants, individuals are reminded to wear their #500Fashion face masks, maintain proper social distancing and choose outdoor seating where available.

Additionally, race fans are encouraged to help IMS decorate Indianapolis and celebrate the race that has defined our city for over a century by hanging their checkered flags, putting up signs supporting their favorite NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver and anything else that gives their neighborhood the ultimate turbo-boost heading into race week. IMS has set the stage by continuing the fan-favorite street sign takeover that renames major streets and avenues in downtown Indianapolis after the stars of the Indy 500. New this year in collaboration with Downtown Indy, Inc., Shining a Light on Monument Circle will feature a stunning Indy 500-themed presentation that highlights special moments, drivers and traditions that define “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Race fans can visit IMS.com/Community all month long to learn more about this year’s initiatives and how they can exemplify the spirit of the Indianapolis 500.

8/4/2020

INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020) – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway today issued the following statement:

“It is with great regret that we announce the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Aug. 23 without fans. This tough decision was made following careful consideration and extensive consultation with state and city leadership.

“As dedicated as we were to running the race this year with 25 percent attendance at our large outdoor facility, even with meaningful and careful precautions implemented by the city and state, the COVID-19 trends in Marion County and Indiana have worsened. Since our June 26 announcement, the number of cases in Marion County has tripled while the positivity rate has doubled. We said from the beginning of the pandemic we would put the health and safety of our community first, and while hosting spectators at a limited capacity with our robust plan in place was appropriate in late June, it is not the right path forward based on the current environment.

“We encourage Hoosiers to continue making smart decisions and following the advice of our public health officials so we can help get Indiana back on track.

“Penske Corporation made a long-term investment to be the steward of this legendary facility. While we were very excited to showcase the investments and enhancements we have made in the guest experience, we know we have reached the right decision. As much as Roger Penske and everyone associated with the ‘500’ wanted to race with fans this year, we ultimately reached this conclusion in partnership with the state of Indiana and city of Indianapolis.

“Our commitment to the Speedway is unwavering, and we will continue to invest in the Racing Capital of the World. We encourage everyone to watch this year’s race on NBC, and we look forward to welcoming our loyal fans back to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ on May 30th of 2021.”

Further Information from IMS

  • All on-track activity during the month of August, including practice and qualifications, will be closed to the general public.
  • Individuals who still have tickets to this year’s Indy 500 will be credited for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 and will retain their seniority and their originally assigned seats.
  • The first Indy 500 practice will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 12, with a full schedule available on IMS.com.
  • All of the action from IMS can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. Visit IMS.com or INDYCAR.com for a comprehensive streaming and broadcast schedule.
  • The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, with national coverage beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.
  • Local Central Indiana coverage of the race will be available on NBC affiliate WTHR.
  • Broadcast coverage of qualifications on Saturday, Aug. 15 begins on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
  • Sunday, Aug. 16 broadcast coverage of Pole Day begins on NBC at 1 p.m.