Home Editor's Picks Dual IndyCar Races Invade Madison This Weekend

Dual IndyCar Races Invade Madison This Weekend

by Brian Ledford

After Sunday’s run at the fabled Indianapolis 500 in front of no spectators, the NTT IndyCar Series returns locally to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway this weekend to present a pair of races in front of open-wheeled enthusiasts.

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 weekend features identical 200-lap races on the 1.25-mile Madison oval Saturday and Sunday launching at 2:40 p.m.

The weekend also contains the Indy Pro 2000 Series race and the ARCA Menards Series Dutch Boy race on Saturday and the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series iHeart 200 on Sunday.

The Illinoisan 250-mile sprints mark the eighth and ninth rotations of the NTT IndyCar Series’ shortened dozen-race schedule.

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) claimed the checkered flags at Sunday’s Indy 500 after taking the lead with 15 laps left. He won last year’s event at the Madison track and the 43-year-old pilot will look to keep the momentum rolling with a potential the double victories.

“Just amazing, amazing feeling,” he said after his second career win at the Indy 500 Sunday. “I’m just so glad to be part of this organization. Thank you for all the owners and the boys and the sponsors and fans that make me happen, still driving in very competitive manner.”

Meanwhile, series points leader Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) aims to widen his dominant lead in the standings. His runner-up finish at Indy gave him a 84-point advantage with five scheduled races left in the docket.

After leading 111 laps at Indy Sunday, and slicing Sato’s lead to a little over a second with five laps left, he was unable to challenge for a potential victory due to a yellow flag finish.

“I think finishing second like this helps you big-time,” said Dixon after the race. “Makes you pretty angry. You definitely want some redemption. Ultimately, (my team) did a fantastic job.”

Dixon has claimed three IndyCar victories this season and placed second at the Bommarito race in its 2017 debut.

Rookie Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) finished sixth at Indy and has collected the most points for rookies through seven races (218), which places him third in the points standings overall. He and fellow rookie teammate Oliver Askew, both in their early 20’s, brings a competitive youthful edge to Madison.

“We have to push each other (at) Gateway,” said O’Ward, who finished third at the one of the Iowa INDYCAR 250 races last month. “Try to build the strongest package (and) try to get a couple podiums there. I think a lot of what I learned in Iowa is going to help at Gateway’s short oval.”

Other potentials to reach the winner’s circle on either day this weekend include Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, who each won a race at the aforementioned Iowa races, Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), who finished third at the Indy 500 and sits fourth in points and Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing), who claimed a win at Road America in July.

Drivers that look to make additional noise include Will Power (Team Penske), who won the Madison race in 2018, as well as Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.

Broadcast coverage of each day’s events begins at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE – (Schedule Subject to Change)           

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 — OPEN TO WEEKEND TICKET HOLDERS ONLY

9:15 am — Indy Pro 2000 practice

11:30 am — Indy Pro 2000 practice

2 pm — Spectator gates open for weekend ticket holders

2:15 pm — Indy Pro 2000 practice

3:30-4 pm — NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie practice

4-5 pm — NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (all cars)

5:30 pm — Indy Pro 2000 qualifying

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29

7: 30 am – Spectator gates open

9:05 am – Indy Pro 2000 Series practice

10 am – ARCA Menards Series practice

11 am – NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying

1 pm – Indy Pro 2000 race (55 laps or 40 minutes)

2:25 pm – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 opening ceremonies begin

2:40 pm – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (200 laps, 250 miles)

5:15 pm – ARCA Menards Series Dutch Boy 150

SUNDAY, AUGUST 30

7:30 am – Spectator gates open

9 am – Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons on track

10:30 am – NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series opening ceremonies begin

11 am – NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series iHeart 200 (160 laps, 200 miles)

2:25 pm – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 opening ceremonies begin

2:40 pm – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (200 laps, 250 miles)

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