Reigning NTT IndyCar series champion Josef Newgarden needed a great result to get back into the title picture. He did just that on Sunday, winning the Bommarito Automotive Group Race 2 at Worldwide Technology Raceway. It is the second victory of the season for Newgarden, who cut Dixon’s massive 117 point lead down to 96 with just five races remaining on the 2020 schedule. For the second Sunday in a row, IndyCar had to finish the race under the yellow flag.
The strong season that Pato O’Ward has had continued again on Sunday, as the Arrow McLaren SP driver matched his career-best 2nd place finish. O’Ward earned his third podium finish of the season and has now led 204 laps through the eight races. Since earning his first career pole at Road America, Pato has finished 2nd, 4th, 12th, 6th in the Indy 500, and followed it up with two more podium finishes this weekend. Will Power led much of the race but his hunt for his first win of the season will have to wait, as he joined Newgarden and O’Ward on Sunday’s podium.
Bommarito Automotive Group Race 2 Box Score
Rookie Rinus VeeKay had a sensational weekend at Gateway, finishing 7th on Saturday and 4th today. Dixon rounded out the top five, as his magical season pushes right along. Colton Herta finished in 6th on Sunday but had a close call with VeeKay in the closing laps. Excluding his rough weekend at Iowa, Colton has finished every race in 8th place or better. Still, he has not yet earned a podium finish and has only led 11 laps this season. Herta was not thrilled with the way that VeeKay raced him. The battle between these two could be something to monitor going forward. Both drivers finished 4th and 6th this weekend.
Felix Rosenqvist had another solid finish in 7th, while Conor Daly wrapped up his side of the Carlin Racing deal with another finish inside the top eight. Takuma Sato and Santino Ferrucci both raced up front for the majority of the day, but issues on the track and pit lane relegated them to 9th and 10th place finishes. The Daly/Carlin partnership worked out quite well for both sides. In the five races, Daly finished 6th, 8th, 13th, 10th, and 8th, highlighted by the pole award at Iowa.
It was another ho-hum afternoon for Andretti Autosport as Ryan Hunter-Reay had another 11th place finish, and Alexander Rossi finished 14th and was never a factor in the race. Marco Andretti finished 15th and Zach Veach was 22nd after contact with several drivers, including Dixon. While his Penske teammates won the race and finished on the podium, Simon Pagenaud had a forgettable weekend, finishing in 16th which was still three spots better than his finish on Saturday.
Speaking of forgettable weekends, it was just that for Graham Rahal, who finished 18th and 20th. It was a big hit in the championship standings for Graham, who is now 7th after sliding two spots. Ed Carpenter’s season as the driver of the No. 20 car concluded today. It was a rough year behind the wheel for Ed, who finished 5th at Texas, 15th and 23rd at Iowa, 26th in the Indy 500, 20th and 21st at Gateway. He never qualified better than 13th and never led a lap.
This was also the final race for Tony Kanaan, who has vowed to return for at least the Indianapolis 500 next year. The legendary driver wrapped up his 25th season with finishes of 9th and 19th this weekend at Gateway. The former champion and Indy 500 winner has stressed his desire to run multiple races next season, should he be able to secure funding for a seat.
The next race on the 2020 IndyCar schedule at the moment is the doubleheader event on the IMS road course. The IndyCar Harvest GP will take place on October 2 and 3 at 4 PM ET. The Mid-Ohio doubleheader event is rumored to be set to return in September, but no official announcement has been made.
Photos courtesy of IndyCar
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “This was all a pit stop victory right here for me. We got pretty dicey with Will (Power) and Pato (O’Ward) there on track. My guys have been amazing in the pits. They have put me into position every time. It was really fun racing Pato out of the pit. That was for the win right there, that race when we went side by side out of the pit exit. He did an amazing job. He’s going to do great things in this sport, so good job to him. It’s a smaller crowd; we weren’t allowed to have as many people here, but thank you to everyone who came out. I hope you enjoyed your Sunday, and hopefully you enjoyed the race. This was all down to my team. Team Chevy did an amazing job. Great to have Hitachi on the car this weekend. They’ve been good luck for us. Really proud of my team. They won the race. I didn’t win it; they won it.” (About pursuit of seies leader Scott Dixon): “Well, we can’t give up on it yet. Yesterday was a pretty big blow. We’ve been pretty bitten by bad luck this year. The yellows have really gone against us probably three or four of the eight races, so what are you going to do? Sometimes it comes your way; sometimes it doesn’t. I feel like this year they really haven’t come our way, but that’s racing. You’ve got to hopefully get on a good cycle, and maybe this will be a little kickstarter for the end of the season for us.”
PATO O’WARD (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “Man, we had a great weekend. Our objective was to come in and try and score two podiums, and we did that. It would have been great to score a win. We’re so close. This Arrow McLaren SP No. 5 Chevrolet was very strong right out of the gates. We were super, super competitive. We’re knocking on the door, man. We’re very close, and we’re going to keep pushing. I know our time will come. We have to stay there.” (Did you have anything for Josef at the end?): “It would be great to say I did, but honestly, I was really struggling … Whenever I got the countdown to 10 laps to go, I was pushing, pushing, pushing to get close to him and try and strike, but I just couldn’t quite do it. Today was harder than yesterday for passing. The asphalt on the track was quite a bit hotter, so that makes it quite a bit tougher with big trains of cars. We got to the back of the pack, and we kind of got stuck there.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I felt like we had the car to win. Obviously, it’s a traffic game. I’ve got to thank all of the guys. The Verizon 12 car Chevy was really strong today. We had great stops, great car. The strategy certainly didn’t work out obviously at the end, but still very happy to get a podium.” (About your bad luck this season): “We’ve certainly had a lot of potential this year and very strange year. But I feel very fortunate that I get to drive the Verizon car, and we get to do this and can actually have some fans here. It’s a fantastic job. Obviously, we’d love to win, but it wasn’t today.”
RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “It was a great race, one of the best races I have ever driven. Yesterday, I started 14th and finished sixth, so today, starting 18th, I was aiming for a top-10 finish. I had an amazing first lap, got around a lot of guys. The strategy was brilliant, so shout out to my team for making this possible. Those last few laps were very tough; everyone was all over the place. Just missed out on the podium, but I don’t care about that right now. P4 was the best I could do.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “The PNC Bank crew did a great job today. We got into a little bit of traffic in those sequences, and Zach Veach totally screwed us. He was laps down and was totally slowing everyone down. I’m not sure if he was trying to help his teammate (Colton) Herta, but he screwed my race and (Takuma) Sato’s race. I’m not sure how that happens when you are fellow Honda teams. I would have expected something else, especially with the other manufacturer running P1-4. It was a decent points’ day, and we just made the most of what we had.”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Andretti Captstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda): “I think we had a really good car today, again, and a really good opportunity to get on the podium. Our qualifying just hindered us, starting in 10th. We made it up about sixth and then slowly made up spots in stops and led some laps. We were looking pretty good there toward the end but had some contact that shuffled us back to sixth. It’s unfortunate, but that’s kind of how racing is. Sometimes it’s brutal. Until next time, hopefully we’ll be back at a racetrack real soon.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 Monster Energy Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “That was definitely an improvement on ovals, in general, and to yesterday’s finish (P8). I just couldn’t really take advantage of many moments today because it was a pretty static race. We were a bit unlucky when we caught Ed Carpenter going really slow. He let Conor Daly by because I think they’re friends, and then he kind of blocked me, and we lost a lot of time. I got it back in the end there with the yellow. We got really lucky. We used the momentum to get past those two guys, and I thought we had a good finish with the Monster Energy car.”
CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “It was a pretty good day for us today starting 15th. There was a lot of chaos at the front with the oil dry on the track, so that was hectic. We lost a little bit because we got stuck on the inside at the beginning, but we gained a lot coming back on the outside in Turns 3 and 4 on the first lap. The No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet was just fantastic. We worked our way forward every stop, and the guys did a great job in the pits. We were just so fast. We got all the way up behind (Scott) Dixon, but just at the end we had a big moment of understeer on the last stint, which put us back one position. To start the race in 15th and finish eighth here today and to have four of the five races together with Carlin all with top-10 finishes is just really awesome. I’m just happy and thankful to be here and to have had the opportunity to be competitive with this team and get so close to a podium so many times.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda): “We led the race and saved a bunch of fuel, but we caught the tail end of the pack. Today there was a lot of dust offline, and it was very difficult to overtake. The team made the decision to stay out, but it seems that everybody undercut us on the first stint, and that was it. After that, we tried to stretch the fuel and then go off sequence but caught traffic every time. Some of the cars were four laps down, and the team said they heard they were told, ‘Keep the 30 car behind,’ which is not racing. It’s not sportsmanlike, and I’m not very happy with that. But there is nothing we can do about it.”
SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “We finished in the top 10, and the car was phenomenal. It was a solid Race 2 for the SealMaster Honda team in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. We really had a top-five car. I just got caught up in lapped traffic at the end, so we ended up sitting where we were. Overall, really proud of the engineering team getting the car sorted.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 Oberto Specialty Meats / Circle K Honda): “The guys did a good job of putting the Oberto Circle K car back together after yesterday – big thanks to them for that. The race car was good; we shuffled through the top here and there with strategy. But we just got caught in traffic when we needed to be flying, and it just wasn’t our day in the pits. We’ll look ahead.”
OLIVER ASKEW (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “We got passed by too many cars at the start. Made it really tough to get through, but I feel like we had a car to be well into the top 10, maybe the top five. We had a fast car in clean air when we had it. Just disappointed at the start and made our race really difficult from there. Looking forward to getting back on a road course in a couple weeks.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 United States Air Force Chevrolet): “This was a really disappointing end to a very tough year. It was really only a couple of months since our first race was in June. It started off well there, but it’s been a lot of bad luck since then. Today was just another tough day. The car wasn’t the same after I got hit at the start yesterday. There are still a few races left in 2020, so we’ll focus on Rinus (VeeKay) and Conor (Daly) and finish out the season strong as a team.”
MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think the Huski Chocolate Honda was really fast today. We had the pace again today to be fighting for a podium and a win. Again, we lost a lot of positions in the pit sequence, unfortunately, so we need to look at that and analyze what’s going on there. Then, we had an issue with the rear wing. I tried to hang on and reported that something was wrong because the car was sliding everywhere. After a while, we realized that something was wrong with the rear wing, so they brought us in to change the rear wing. We obviously lost a lot of laps, but then when we got out the car felt good again and really fast. We were still a lot of laps down. It’s a disappointing day.”
JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda): “It’s been a pretty frustrating weekend for us. We keep having great qualifying runs, and we somehow just can’t seem to get a good race result. I don’t think we were as quick as we were yesterday. I think the hotter track temperatures laid the car, not necessarily bad in balance, but just lacking grip. One of these days we will turn one of these good qualifying runs into a good race result.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Overall, it was kind of an uneventful day for the 28 team, which is both good and bad. We would have liked a little more passing. It was really a track position day, and we just weren’t in a position to gain. We’re looking forward to the next race.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 14 Big Machine Vodka / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Track position was everything. We had a pretty decent start, moved up a little bit but honestly, I think it was pretty boring race — but it was a boring race for everyone. Mixed feelings on my last one. I wish I could have given the boys and A.J. (Foyt) and Big Machine a better result, but the rest of the day was fun. It was a good way to end it. I want to thank my fans, my team and everyone who has been involved in this journey, my family. It’s been good. I’m done for this year but hopefully not done totally, but we’ll see. My fingers are crossed that maybe I could come back for a proper last lap with my fans, but for now, drop the mic.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 4 Tresiba / AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet): “Well, kind of a tough day for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet car. We started 21st, kind of ran around there, made a couple of passes at the start and then settled into our pace. I think everyone was really struggling with passing. There wasn’t a whole lot of overtaking, but I know my guys in pit lane got me at least two spots that I know of, so big ups to them, as normal. They did a great job in pit lane, and we’ll learn from this and move forward.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Yeah, the whole weekend didn’t go well. Yesterday really put us on the back foot, and we didn’t get to really feel the race car. Today, Turn 1 just obviously got us shuffled and sandwiched and didn’t want to end my race in the first corner, so I slowed down and lost all momentum. It caused a freight train around me. We had a really good car the whole race; we were just stuck at the back. I was super happy with the Menards Chevy, but I think we had one of the fastest laps of the race. We just got stuck in the back, so let’s regroup and go to the next race. I guess it’s that kind of a season where you just have to take every race as it comes.”
ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Guaranteed Rate Honda): “That was an uneventful race. It was super difficult to pass. I think the only passing that happened was at the start and with the pit strategy, where we gained four or five positions. It was easy to follow other cars but just very hard to get a run on them, and that was the same for everyone on track. It ended up being about strategy and trying to make that work in our favor. It’s a shame because we had a really fast car. We had the fastest race lap, and that shows how good our No. 55 Guaranteed Rate car is. I felt really comfortable with the car. It’s too bad we couldn’t finish any higher.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “Race 2 was disappointing for the United Rentals team just because of where we started. Today is a lesson in how important qualifying is. It was hard to pass on track. The tire is very, very hard here, and it makes it difficult for the drivers, but I’ve got to say it was massively better today. If you look at our fastest lap time, it was as quick as (Pato) O’Ward, who finished second. It’s just a shame we started at the back. We never were able to make our way forward. We lost a lap early when we came in the pits with (leader Josef) Newgarden, and he just beat us out, which put us a lap down, and from there we kind of scrambled. But I’ve got to say the silver lining in all this is yes, this weekend sucked for us, but we made great gains today. Twentieth doesn’t look like it, but I assure you we did. Head down, focus forward, and we’ll get them at the next one.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda): “It felt like we were a day behind everyone, honestly. I think the NAPA AutoCare guys did a good job rebuilding a whole new car overnight. The pace was OK. At the start, everyone had a pretty good idea of what they had and what they were supposed to do, and I was doing it for the first time. It’s a track position race after that; you can’t pass. It’s just pretty processional. We tried to mix up the strategy, but ultimately since it’s Race 2 here, everyone kind of knows what they’re looking for, and it’s pretty hard gaining.”
ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “We started off the day way too free, unfortunately. The limited amount of track time we get, it doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to build something under you that you’re comfortable with. By the last couple of stints, the track was finally to a place where the car was manageable, but I just struggled the first part of the race. And then we had a pit stop with a loose nut that made us come back in. That unfortunately put the final nail in the coffin. I still want to thank the Gainbridge guys for the work they put in. It just wasn’t our day.”