Two nights of supreme racing action is slotted for World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Illinois, highlighted by this Saturday’s fifth running of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
The marquee race that features the stars of the NTT Indycar Series is supplemented by Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opening playoff round, a pair of Indy Lights races and the return of the developmental Indy Pro 200 series.
For local motor sports fans, the two-night punch is projected to be the premier racing weekend of the summer.
Here’s a look at the series competing at the 1.25-mile oval.
NTT IndyCar Series: Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline
This marks the thirteenth stop of IndyCar’s 16-race series and if anything is expected due to the earlier results, this race is anyone’s for the taking due to racer and team parity.
In the first dozen races of the season, nine different drivers have claimed checkered flags. Last Saturday’s stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course saw veteran Will Power (Team Penske) notch his first win of the season. Power won the 2018 race in Madison and possesses the momentum to snare his second straight duke Saturday.
In the points standings, Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) holds a 21-point lead over Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) with four races left on the schedule. Both have won a pair of races earlier this year and strong finishes for both should keep that hierarchy intact. Meanwhile, defending series champ Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) sits in third and has been holding steady in pursuit.
Other hopefuls in the 260-lap feature include two-time IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) and Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), who has also notched a pair of wins on the season.
Realistically, there are about a dozen quality drivers that could win Saturday’s race, so picking a favorite is extremely difficult.
Qualifications take place at 4 p.m. Saturday and the green flag drops at 7:45 p.m. Live race coverage starts on NBCSN at 7 p.m.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Toyota 200 Presented by CK Power
After 15 regular season races, the truck series enters a three-race opening playoff round showcasing a ten-driver playoff configuration. A victory at one of the earlier stops ensured a driver’s placement in the playoff round.
The stakes are high at Friday night”s 160-lap, 200-mile race as whomever wins the Gateway event automatically advances to the next playoff round. Overall, the top eight drivers after three Round 1 races advance to Round 2. A pair of Round 2 races funnels into a four-driver field for the one-race series finale at Phoenix Raceway November 5. Whew!
John H. Nemechek (Kyle Busch Motorsports) heads into the Round 1 playoffs as a primary favorite, collecting the most points during the regular season while netting five wins. Meanwhile Austin Hill (Hattori Racing Enterprises) won the series’ last two events and brings hard-charging momentum.
Ben Rhodes (Thor Sport Racing) sat in third place heading into Playoff Round 1 thanks to a pair of early-season victories.
Alongside the ten drivers that are automatically competing in the opening playoff round, nearly thirty other drivers are attempting to make their way to placement onto the starting grid.
Friday’s green flag drops at 7:35 p.m. and live coverage can be seen on FS1.
INDY Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series
A separate pair of 75-lap (or 60-minute) races, stops 13 and 14 of the 20-race schedule, will precede each night’s main event.
At season’s end, whomever claims the IndyCar developmental series’ championship not only nets a racing scholarship valued at $1.3 million but also earns automatic entry into three NTT IndyCar races in 2022, including the Indianapolis 500 next May.
Rookie Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport), who claimed back-to-back wins at Mid-Ohio Fourth of July weekend, currently possesses the top spot in the standings followed by David Malukas (HMD Motorsports) and Linus Lundqvist (Global Racing Group).
The 13-driver field entered for each race contains plenty of open-wheeled talent and projecting a winner is difficult due to the comparable cars and drivers that will compete in the sprint.
Each race on Friday and Saturday has a 5:30 p.m. green flag and live coverage can be seen on the Peacock streaming service.
INDY Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Series
Round 13 of the series 18 race docket has a 55-lap (or 45-minute) feature slotted for 2:45 p.m Saturday.
Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), who won a pair of races at Mid-Ohio Fourth of July weekend and six overall in 2021, currently sits a top the standings while Braden Eves (Exclusive Autopsort), who has posted a pair of wins this season, currently helms second place.
Coverage of this race can be seen at indypro2000.com.
WEEKEND SCHEDULE AT WWTRG IN MADISON, IL
FRIDAY, AUGUST 20
11:30 AM INDY LIGHTS PRACTICE 1
12:30 PM INDY PRO 2000 PRACTICE 1
1:15 PM VINTAGE INDY CARS
3:00 PM INDY LIGHTS QUALIFYING
3:45 PM INDY PRO 200 QUALIFYING
4:45 PM VINTAGE INDY CARS
5:30 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 1
7:35 PM NASCAR CAMPNG WORLD TRUCK SERIES TOYOTA 200
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21
10:15 AM INDYCAR TWO SEATER & EVENT CAR RIDES
12:15 PM INDYCAR PRACTICE
2:45 PM INDY PRO 2000 RACE
4:00 PM INDYCAR QUALIFYING
5:30 PM INDY LIGHTS RACE 2
7:45 PM NTT INDYCAR SERIES BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500