Notes & Quotes: Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway was originally scheduled to be run on a Saturday night but now two 200-lap races will be run Saturday and Sunday during the day. Charlie Kimball will drive the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet while Tony Kanaan will be in the No. 14 Big Machine Vodka Chevrolet as his Last Lap Tour winds down this season. 


World Wide Technology Raceway: “I’m excited to return to St. Louis this weekend after our podium there last year. The promoters at World Wide Technology Raceway have done a terrific job working with the local authorities to provide a race where fans could go and have an opportunity for entertainment in a safe and socially distanced environment and I’m really looking forward to seeing them at the track. When I announced the TK Last Lap in January of this year no one had an idea of what 2020 had in store for us, so being able to have fans at these last two races of my season is really special for me. I want to put on a good show for them and for the fans at home as well.”

 Big Machine Vodka sponsoring him at WWT Raceway: “It’s a neat story because when you talk about relationships, it’s always obviously business but when you can mix business with friendship — and have a pretty cool thing like this going — it becomes something we will talk about for years to come. It’s not just a business transaction, it’s a bunch of friends that wanted to help. We had a cool idea that we’d been brewing since last September which is when we came up with the #TKLastLap. Some things have changed a bit, but their deal is solid and they’re still around. And they said they will still be around as long as I race. And that is awesome.”


World Wide Technology Raceway: “After learning a lot in a very different looking

Indy 500, I am excited to get back on track at WWT Raceway for two races! AJ Foyt Racing had a great podium last year on the outskirts of St. Louis and we have high hopes for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet for this weekend.”

The impact of racing in the day versus the night: “While the track is lit really well since they repaved it, the asphalt is really dark so being there in the day will be interesting. We’ve practiced and qualified during the day, but we’ve never done an afternoon race. I think it’ll change how the track evolves over the course of the afternoon. Running in the middle of the afternoon versus late afternoon, I think the temperature will be pretty stable. But being a little warmer when the rubber goes down, it’ll get a little greasier, be a little more of a handful. With that darkness in the asphalt and at night, some of the bumps flatten out visually and you almost can’t see some of the ripples that are in the paving, but during the day you can pick it up. Hopefully being able to see those will help with where you need to put the car and be ready for them based on setup.”

The difficulty of passing this season: “Part of it is the added weight of the aeroscreen, but also the aerodynamic effect of the aeroscreen which produces more drag because there is more surface area pushing through the air. I also think the flow of air off the back of the car is dirtier. So when you’re behind it, you may get a larger tow or vacuum effect up to the car in front, but when you get closer, it’s more turbulent so you don’t have the downforce to stay close to take advantage of the tow to make that pass into the next corner. 

“Gateway is hard because typically the passes happen going into Turn 1, you have to run close through 3 and 4, and maybe the car ahead doesn’t have as good a run  through 3 and 4, you come with momentum, hang on right at the exit, and then beat them to the bottom and steal the bottom into 1. You pass from in front rather than behind—where they make a mistake in front, and you’re ready to take advantage of the momentum shift, rather than driving up and around them.”

Putting a premium on qualifying: “It does. We have just an hour of practice which is hardly enough track time. We expect to get one validation change—ride height and aero balance, and then maybe one or two setup developments. But going into tonight after practice, I really want to just be comfortable knowing what I’ve got going into qualifying. With qualifying being at 11 a.m., it may be an advantage for us to be going earlier in the qualifying order, because the track may continue to warm up as we go through qualifying. It will rubber up for sure, which is always an advantage to go later, but with the heat and the rising track temperature, it may negate some of that benefit.”

Goal for the weekend: “It’s the same as it is for every weekend: start up front, stay up front and win. Looking at the pit stop reports from Indy, Texas, Iowa and Road America, I have so much confidence in this team and our progress all year. It’s been amazing. While the results in Iowa were disappointing, we learned a whole lot about the short oval car. Within the dampers and mechanical setup of the car, we’ve learned enough to make progress for this weekend.”

Last race: Tony Kanaan started 23rd in the Indianapolis 500 and climbed into the top 10 before having to back off and conserve fuel on the final stint of the race to avoid a ‘splash and go’ in the pits. Charlie Kimball started 29th and finished 18th in the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet at Indianapolis. Initially using an alternative pit strategy, Kanaan vaulted to fourth in the early stages of the race and stayed in the top 10 when the leaders pitted. However, two consecutive yellow flags near the midpoint of the race effectively put everyone on the same strategy which didn’t work in Kimball’s favor.

Past Performance at WWT Raceway: Tony Kanaan’s best start is 3rd (1998 and 2003). His best finish of 2nd also came in 2003 with Andretti-Green Racing. Last year he started 20th and finished 3rd. Charlie Kimball’s best start is 17th (2018) and his best finish is 7th (2017). The Foyt team’s best start is 8th (2017 –  Carlos Munoz) and its best finish is 3rd (2019 – Kanaan).

Qualifying Format: One qualifying session will determine the grids for the 200-lap races (shortened from the traditional 248-lap race). Lap 1 of the run will determine the grid for Race 1 while Lap 2 will determine the grid for Race 2. 

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Race 1 and Race 2 will be broadcast Saturday and Sunday respectively on NBCSN starting at 3 p.m. ET. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice and qualifying sessions will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold and on The races are broadcast live on the INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, and the INDYCAR mobile app.