Bommarito 500 sees Josef Newgarden victory, major championship shake-up

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Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway provided plenty of drama on the track and in the championship battle. As Josef Newgarden dominated to win for a series-high third time at Gateway, points leader Alex Palou‘s retirement coupled with Patricio O’Ward‘s runner-up has enabled the latter to leapfrog Palou for the top spot with just three races remaining.

Will Power, fresh off his first win of the year, was the fastest qualifier. Although Graham Rahal enjoyed a top-ten qualifying effort, it was for naught as he and Ed Jones tangled after three laps and knocked the two out of the race. Rahal, who was chasing down Marcus Ericsson for fifth in the standings entering the race, consequently dropped to eighth by the end of the day.

Further muddying the championship picture was a lap 64 wreck in which Palou and Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon, who was third in points at the time, were taken out after contact with Rinus VeeKay. O’Ward capitalised on his title rivals’ misfortunes as he ran in the top five throughout the night.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean looked like a seasoned veteran in his oval début as he made numerous aggressive passes for position, enabling him to climb into the top ten. However, he would miss a wave-around on the final caution and finish a lap down in fourteenth.

Newgarden stayed away from much of the carnage to lead much of the first half before being passed by Colton Herta. Unfortunately for Herta, bad luck befell him on lap 185 when a driveshaft broke as he exited pit road. Andretti Autosport team-mate Alexander Rossi‘s night was also cut short when he hit the wall exiting turn two on lap 200, bringing out a caution.

Rossi’s incident set up the last restart and a fifty-lap run to the finish. Newgarden kept O’Ward and Team Penske allies Power and Scott McLaughlin at bay as he pulled away for his second win of 2021, third win at Gateway (second in a row), and twentieth of his career. After failing to win in the first nine rounds, Penske is now victorious in three of the last four.

After going into the race trailing Palou by twenty-one points, O’Ward now leads by ten with three races remaining in the season.

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Official Results

12Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske02:24:10.940
25Patricio O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP+ .940 sec
312Will PowerAUSTeam Penske+ 5.866 sec
43Scott McLaughlin (R)NZLTeam Penske+ 6.662 sec
514Sébastien BourdaisFRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 7.796 sec
630Takuma SatoJPNRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing + 8.262 sec
728Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport+ 14.026 sec
822Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske+ 15.542 sec
98Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing+ 18.768
1060Jack HarveyGBRMeyer Shank Racing+ 20.121 sec
1159Conor DalyUSACarlin+ 22.104 sec
124Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 24.558 sec
1348Tony KanaanBRAChip Ganassi Racing+ 26.837 sec
1451Romain Grosjean (R)FRADale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing Running
1529James HinchcliffeCANAndretti Autosport Running
167Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SPMechanical
1727Alexander RossiUSAAndretti AutosportContact
1826Colton HertaUSAAndretti AutosportMechanical
199Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi RacingContact
2010Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi RacingContact
2121Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter RacingContact
2220Ed CarpenterUSAEd Carpenter RacingContact
2315Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Contact
2418Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-SullivanContact
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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