PREVIEW: 2020 NTT Data IndyCar Series – Bommarito Automotive Group 500

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Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar

After yet another enthralling installment of the Indianapolis 500 last weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series rolls into St. Louis for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 doubleheader at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

The unique 2.01 km “egg-shaped” oval will host two races this weekend on Saturday 29 August and Sunday 30 August. The weekend will use the same qualifying format used for the Iowa IndyCar 250s, where the average speed of the first lap will determine the grid for race one, while the second lap will determine the grid for race two.

With only a few races to go in the 2020 season, will anyone be able to catch points leader Scott Dixon? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 doubleheader.

What happened last year?

In a wild race, it would be “Wild Thing” Takuma Sato that beat Ed Carpenter to the win by a margin of 0.0399 seconds.

Polesitter Josef Newgarden led for much of the race early on, but Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci made his presence felt and was making a run for the lead. After a caution saw the leaders shuffled back in the pack, he would take the lead on lap 83. 

Ferrucci would stretch that lead, holding a gap of eight seconds at one point and leading the most laps of any driver in the race. But a late caution during vital green flag pit stops saw Sato take the lead. Only Sato, Carpenter, Tony Kanaan, and Josef Newgarden would be on the lead lap at the time of the caution.

As a late race battle ensued, Sato would hold off Carpenter and Kanaan to win. Santino Ferrucci would come back from a poor final pit stop to finish fourth. Ferrucci would have a moment on the final lap with Newgarden, however, joining the racing line after going wide at the exit of the final corner, forcing Newgarden to take evasive action and spin.  Newgarden would go to finish seventh, as his Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud would finish fifth.

You can read the entire race report here.

What should I look out for this weekend?

Fresh off of his second Indy 500 win, Takuma Sato must be delighted to see Gateway as the next track on the calendar. After winning there last year, now is a perfect time for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver to continue his momentum. Winning last week saw Sato launch himself up to sixth place in the points with 207, and another win could see him jump as high as third. 

Since returning to Gateway in 2017, Team Penske have won two of the three races held at the track so far. In 2017 the event was won by Josef Newgarden, and in 2018 it was won by Will Power. Penske also swept the aforementioned Iowa IndyCar 250s earlier this year. 

After a less than ideal Indy 500 for all Penske drivers not named Josef Newgarden, the team will be looking to bounce back at a track they are historically strong at. Now sitting second in the points, I’m sure Newgarden would love to chip away at Scott Dixon’s 84 point lead in the points with only a few races left in the season.

 What is the schedule for this weekend?

Friday 28 August

16:30 EST / 21:30 GMT – Practice

Saturday 29 August

12:00 EST / 17:00 GMT – Qualifying

15:00 EST / 20:00 GMT – Race 1

Sunday 30 August

15:00 EST / 20:00 GMT – Race 2

Where can I watch the race?

Coverage in the UK for qualifying and the race will be provided by Sky Sports F1.

In the United States, coverage for the races will be on NBCSN. Practice and Qualifying will be shown on NBC Sports Gold.

Where can I keep up with the action?

You can keep up to date with all the action across the weekend right here at The Checkered Flag.

Be sure to also follow IndyCar on Twitter (@IndyCar) for live updates throughout the event.

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