One week prior to the NTT IndyCar Series’ return to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the fifth annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500, the open-wheeled series competes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a road-course tussle.
The Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix races Saturday at Noon (Central) at the facilities’ 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. The 85-lap feature is the twelfth of the series’ 16-event schedule.
This past Sunday’s inaugural Music City Grand Prix on the streets of downtown Nashville, Tennessee saw driver Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing) overcome a Lap 5 incident that sent his No. 8 Bryant Honda into the air, resulting in a broken wing and ensuing stop-and-go penalty, and edge teammate Scott Dixon by a second and a half to claim his second win of the season.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Ericsson of his topsy-turvy afternoon. “It just shows in IndyCar (that) anything can happen. You can never give up. And if you have a good team and a good car, you can still get to victory lane.”
The Swede’s second trip to the winner’s circle pushed him to fifth overall in the points standings with five races remaining.
Current points leader Alex Palou, another Team Ganassi entry, expanded his lead in the standings with a seventh place finish and currently sits 42 points in front of Dixon, the series’ defending champ, 410-368.
“(There’s) 250 points left on the table,” said Dixon of IndyCar’s late-season sprint. “There’s a lot that can happen, especially at some of the racetracks we’re going to.”
Through twelve races this campaiagn, eight different drivers have claimed victory. Two-race winner Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) sits third in points (362) while Josef Newgarden (Team Penske), Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Rinus Veekay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing) have each recorded one win.
Plenty of hard-charging veterans are hungry for their first triumph of the year, including Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), who respectively sit sixth and seventh in the standings.
Friday’s 6 pm Central qualifying round and Saturday’s race can be seen on NBC Sports Network.
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 in Madison, Illinois takes place on Saturday, August 21.
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