The NTT IndyCar Series heads back to the Midwest this weekend for race No. 15 of the 2019 season. With Will Power winning the rain-shortened race at Pocono last weekend, he was able to close the points gap a little but he is still far behind fifth in points, 128 behind his teammate Josef Newgarden. Due to the win at Pocono, Power is mathematically eligible to win the championship but will need a lot of help to do so with just three races remaining.
Here’s a look at who might win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
- Josef Newgarden – Newgarden has two starts at Gateway with a win in 2017 after dominating the race by leading 170 laps. His previous finish was seventh in last year’s race after qualifying third. The Team Penske driver has an average start of 2.5 and an average finish of 4.0. Newgarden has been a beast on ovals this year, finishing fourth in the Indy 500 and winning at Texas and Iowa. Should Newgarden win again this weekend, I expect some drivers to be mathematically eliminated to compete for the championship.
- Scott Dixon – Trying to run Newgarden down in the championship is CGR driver Scott Dixon, who currently sits fourth in the standings, 52 points behind Newgarden. At Gateway, Dixon has three starts with a best finish of second in 2017 and he also earned a pole here last year. Dixon has an average finish of 6.7 and has led 223 laps. He led 145 laps in last year’s race before ultimately finishing third. On ovals this year, he has finishes of 17th in the Indy 500 and Fort Worth and second at Iowa and Pocono. Expect Dixon to be in contention to win on Saturday night and try to close the points gap a little bit on Newgarden.
- Will Power – Counting out last week’s winner would be a head-scratcher for sure when it comes to Gateway. While the 2017 race wasn’t the best outing for the Aussie, Power came back to win the race last year after leading 93 laps and starting fourth. In the two outings, Power has an average finish of 10.5, but his starts have been great. Keep an eye on Power who might be up front.
- Spencer Pigot – Looking to put the disappointing Pocono outing behind him, Pigot and the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing team are looking forward to returning to Gateway this weekend, a track where they were good at last year. In one start, Pigot finished sixth after starting 14th. The 2019 oval season has been so-so for the Ed Carpenter driver, finishing 14th at Indy and Fort Worth, fifth at Iowa and 17th last week at Pocono after crashing out of the race. Pigot and company are hoping to bounce back after last week’s events.
- Alexander Rossi – Speaking of someone hoping to bounce back we can’t forget Alexander Rossi who has two starts at Gateway. Rossi was involved in the Lap 1 crash at Pocono last Sunday. He was able to finish the race but was many laps down when the race was over. Rossi came to Pocono with a 16 point deficit but is now 35 points behind. Gateway might be the place where Rossi can overcome the points gap a little bit, as he finished second there last year and led four laps. The Andretti Autosport driver has finishes of second at Indy and Fort Worth and sixth at Iowa. Don’t ever count out Rossi and his No. 27 Napa team.
World-Wide Technology Raceway has hosted four races under the CART/CCWS name and five races under the NTT IndyCar name. The first race for CART was back in 1997 when Paul Tracy won after starting second. Over the next three races, legendary names like Alex Zanardi, Michael Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya have all won here.
However, when IndyCar came in 2001, drivers like Al Unser Jr., Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves have won here as well. The series took a 16-year hiatus before returning two years ago in 2017. Since then, it’s been all Team Penske who have taken the checkers with Newgarden and Power winning.
The NTT IndyCar Series drivers will get on track Friday afternoon with two one hour practice sessions. The first practice is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET and the final practice set for 9:15 p.m. ET live on NBC Gold. Qualifying will also be held on Friday evening at 6:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Saturday night is race day for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. The race will have 250 laps and will be live on NBCSN. The pre-race show is slated for 8 p.m. ET and the green flag will fly at 8:45 p.m. ET.