Madison, Illinois (August 21, 2022)– Despite starting near the back of the 26-car field, NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Callum Ilott proved to have the pace in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet during the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Unfortunately, Ilott’s race would be derailed after a mistake during the first pit stop sent the No. 77 back to the pit box to serve a 30-second stop and go penalty.
The weekend kicked off Friday afternoon with a one-hour practice session on the 1.25-mile oval located just outside downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned to the track just two short hours later for qualifying. Ilott struggled to find the pace during his two-lap qualifying run, and would settle for the 22nd starting position for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Friday concluded with one final practice session under the lights, where Ilott improved to 13th.
For the second race in a row, weather played a role with periods of rain showers and storms. The start of the 260-lap race was moved up to begin 30-minutes early due to the threat of storms approaching the St. Louis area. Ilott, who started 22nd, had an incredible run during the first four laps, moving up five positions. The No. 77 JHR Chevrolet gained one more position before the first pit stop on lap-59.
Unfortunately, during the pit stop, Ilott made slight contact with the tire held by the left-front tire changer. The crewman was able to continue with the pit stop and would complete all four remaining pit stops. A few laps later the No. 77 JHR Chevrolet served a 30-second stop and go penalty for hitting pit equipment during the pit stop.
Despite going three laps down after the penalty was served, Ilott continued to show strong pace on track passing multiple cars. The red flag came out with just under 50 laps to go after storms moved into the area. During this time the crewman was evaluated and released by the INDYCAR Medical team.
Around two hours later the track was dry, and the threat of lighting was lifted from the track area. The green flag waved, and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES put on an incredible finish with multiple passes throughout the field. Ilott was able to move up a few more positions to finish 21st.
“We had a lot of pace,” said Ilott. “I think we overtook maybe 30 people throughout the race, so that was really strong. I made a small mistake on the pit stop… locked up and hit the tire and my outside front mechanic. I’m sorry to him but he’s OK. I’m sorry to the team because that cost us with the penalty and then from there, we were just hanging in. It was annoying because we found quite a bit of pace compared to yesterday, and I was quite confident and making moves on the outside. That’s the way it goes. We’ll take it and move on to Portland and Laguna.”
“It was a tough weekend for JHR, but we finished off strong despite the overall result,” said JHR Co-owner and Team Principal Ricardo Juncos. “We struggled to find the pace on Friday, but once race time came we had a fast car. Ilott did an amazing job working his way through the field during the start of the race. An unfortunate mistake during the first pit stop would cost us the result we deserved, but these things happen and we are just thankful our crew is ok. We are looking forward to getting back out west in a few weeks in Portland and Laguna, to finish the season off strong.”