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Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, Sept. 17 – Sunday, Sept. 19

Track: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a 2.258-mile permanent road course in Monterey, California

Race distance: 95 laps / 214.51 miles

Media Links: Entry List (PDF) | Driver Video Quotes 

Push-to-pass parameters: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @WeatherTechRcwy@IndyCar, #IndyCar #FirestoneGP

Event website: www.WeatherTechRaceway.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner (most recent): Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda)

2019 pole winner (most recent): Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), 1 minute, 10.1405 seconds, 114.867 mph

Qualifying record: Helio Castroneves, 1:07.722, 118.969 mph, Sept. 8, 2000

NBC television broadcast: Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 19, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: This weekend’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes will be the lead announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Dan Rusanowsky and Alex Wolff will report from the pits. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 205 and 211, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, Sept. 17

2:30–3:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 1, Peacock Premium (live)

Saturday, Sept. 18

10:45–11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice 2, Peacock Premium (live)

2:05 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live)

Sunday, Sept. 19

9-9:30 a.m.– NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium (live)

11:50 a.m. – Driver introductions

Noon – NBC on air

12:23 p.m. – Start engines command

12:30 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (95 laps/214.51 miles), NBC (live)

Championship Facts:

  • Alex Palou leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with two races to go for the first time in his career. Palou has led the point standings after nine of the 14 races this season.
  • Palou leads Pato O’Ward by 25 points with Josef Newgarden (-34), Scott Dixon (-49) and Marcus Ericsson (-75) behind. Palou assumed the point lead following his win at Portland. The lead has changed hands six times between Palou, O’Ward and Dixon.
  • There are five drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson. Any driver who trails the points leader by 54 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.
  • Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship six times: Bobby Rahal (1986 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Michael Andretti (1991), Alex Zanardi (1998) and Cristiano da Matta (2002).

Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the driver who has led the championship with two races to go has failed to win the championship five times. Scott Dixon in 2008, 2018 and 2020, Dario Franchitti in 2011, Will Power in 2014, Simon Pagenaud in 2016 and Josef Newgarden in 2017 and 2019 are the exceptions who have won the title after leading with two races remaining.

Don’t call it a comeback: No point lead is ever safe in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Five times since 2008, a driver has made up a deficit with two races to go to win the championship – Dario Franchitti, who trailed Ryan Briscoe by four points in 2009 and Will Power by 23 points in 2010; Ryan Hunter-Reay, who trailed Will Power by five points with two races remaining in 2012, Scott Dixon, who was in third place, 48 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya in 2015 and Power who overcame a four-point deficit to Helio Castroneves in 2014.

CHAMPIONSHIP WITH TWO TO GO (2008-2021)

YEARLEADERSECOND LEADCHAMPION
2008Scott DixonHelio Castroneves78Scott Dixon
2009Ryan BriscoeDario Franchitti4Dario Franchitti
2010Will PowerDario Franchitti23Dario Franchitti
2011Dario FranchittiWill Power26Dario Franchitti
2012Will PowerRyan Hunter-Reay5Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013Helio CastronevesScott Dixon49Scott Dixon
2014Will PowerHelio Castroneves4Will Power
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaGraham Rahal42Scott Dixon (-48)
2016Simon PagenaudWill Power27Simon Pagenaud
2017Josef NewgardenScott Dixon18Josef Newgarden
2018Scott DixonAlexander Rossi29Scott Dixon
2019Josef NewgardenAlexander Rossi35Josef Newgarden
2020Scott DixonJosef Newgarden72Scott Dixon
2021Alex PalouPato O’Ward25?

RACE NOTES:

  • There have been nine different winners in 14 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America, Portland International Raceway), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1, Streets of Nashville), Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, World Wide Technology Raceway) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
  • There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Alex PalouMarcus Ericsson, Pato O’WardJosef Newgarden and Will Power) The only repeat winners in that stretch are, Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville), Newgarden (Mid-Ohio and WWT Raceway) and Palou (Road America and Portland).
  • The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will be the 24th INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, but just the second since 2004. Teo Fabi won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1983. Colton Herta – who won the most recent race at the track in 2019 – and Helio Castroneves -who won at the track in 2000 – are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • Thirteen drivers have won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the pole – Teo Fabi (1983), Bobby Rahal (1985), Danny Sullivan (1988), Rick Mears (1989), Danny Sullivan (1990), Michael Andretti (1991 and 1992), Paul Tracy (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Bryan Herta (1998 and 1999), Helio Castroneves (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Patrick Carpentier (2003) and Colton Herta (2019).
  • Team Penske has won six times at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Penske’s winning drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988 and 1990), Rick Mears (1989), Paul Tracy (1993 and 1994) and Helio Castroneves (2000). Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has three wins with Bryan Herta (1998-99) and Max Papis (2001). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and Jimmy Vasser in 1997.
  • Eighteen drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Helio Castroneves has four starts, most among the entered drivers, but hasn’t raced at the track since 2001. Five entered drivers have led laps at the track (Colton Herta 83, Will Power 6, Scott Dixon 2, Sebastien Bourdais 1 and Simon Pagenaud 1).
  • Four rookies – Romain GrosjeanCallum IlottJimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin – are expected to compete. The four rookies, along with veteran drivers Oliver AskewDalton KellettPato O’WardAlex Palou and Rinus VeeKay, will all be making their first INDYCAR SERIES at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

News from INDYCAR: Palou Seizes Series Lead with Improbable Victory at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021) – Ten laps into the Grand Prix of Portland, Alex Palou was running in 16th place after starting from the pole, and his NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship hopes were in a heap of trouble.

Fast-forward 100 laps, and Palou earned his series-best third victory this season and has a 25-point lead in the championship standings with just two races remaining.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner for second-year NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Palou, who celebrates victories with a meal of fried chicken.

MEDIA LINKS: Official Race Results | Driver Video Quotes | Post-Race Transcripts Palou | Rossi & Dixon“We kept our heads down, and we knew the race was really long,” Palou said. “I cannot believe it. We made it (on fuel). The guys made it. They just gave me the numbers, and we just follow it. The strategy was amazing.”

NTT P1 Award winner Palou overcame losing positions from the anticipated snarl in Turns 1 through 3 on the opening lap at Portland International Raceway and used a combination of impeccable driving in the No. 10 PNC Bank Honda and smart pit strategy from Chip Ganassi Racing to beat Alexander Rossi’s No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda to the finish by 1.2895 seconds. Reigning series champion Scott Dixon finished third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda to keep his hopes alive for a record-tying seventh title.

Jack Harvey finished fourth in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda, with championship contender Josef Newgarden fifth in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Palou leads Pato O’Ward by 25 points with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 19 and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, Sept. 26 remaining in the 2021 season. O’Ward led 28 laps early in the race but faded in the second half in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, finishing 14th.

Two-time series champion Newgarden is third in the standings, 34 points behind Palou. Dixon is fourth, 49 points behind the leader, and Marcus Ericsson is fifth, 75 points back. Ericsson finished seventh in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

“I don’t care that much about the points at this moment,” Palou said. “I think the race we did today, it’s just amazing. Not me, but the guys, with the strategy, with the pit stops, with everything. With all the bad luck we had, we still won. I’m proud about that. Fried chicken tonight!”

Two races remain in the season, with a maximum of 54 points available at each: the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 19 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, Sept. 26 on the streets of Long Beach, California.

Palou took the lead for good on Lap 86 when Ericsson made his final pit stop from the top spot. The Spaniard never was threatened by Rossi down the stretch despite two restarts, inexorably expanding his lead lap by lap on the Firestone primary “black” tires, which have more durability than the Firestone alternate “red” tires that Andretti Autosport fastened to Rossi’s car on his final stop.

“It was a big fight, for sure,” Rossi said. “(Palou) did a good job, he didn’t make any mistakes. The red tires have a peak that’s a little bit better, but they certainly have a bit more fall-off, which is what they’re supposed to do. That’s the beauty of INDYCAR racing with the different strategies.”

The march to victory by Palou seemed almost unthinkable after the chaos that unfolded at the start of the race in the tight right-left chicane in Turn 1, one of the most fraught flashpoints in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Palou and Dixon both overshot Turns 1 and 2 of the three-turn chicane at the end of the front straight after Dixon’s car was nudged from behind by the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist, who also went wide in Turn 1 along with Colton Herta’s No. 26 Gainbridge Honda and others.

Neither Palou nor Dixon suffered damage in the melee that triggered the first of four caution periods in the race. But five drivers in the mid-pack and rear of the field – Will Power, Romain Grosjean, Oliver Askew, James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves – all were forced to the pits or paddock for repairs after contact in the fracas. Hinchcliffe was unable to continue.

INDYCAR rules state that cars avoiding the collision and remaining on the racing surface at the timing lines embedded in the track through the chicane are placed at the front of the field on the restart, with drivers avoiding the collision but leaving the racetrack placed behind them, followed by drivers involved in the incident.

That caused a massive reshuffle of the order, as O’Ward and Rahal claimed first and second on the restart on Lap 11 because they stayed on track and clean in the first-lap incident. Meanwhile, Palou was moved to 16th, Dixon 17th, Rosenqvist 18th, Rossi 19th, Newgarden 21st and Herta 22nd for the restart after INDYCAR officials reviewed timing loop data, and those drivers’ long road back toward the front began.

Palou, Dixon, Herta and Rossi were among the drivers who pitted under yellow on Lap 9. Those stops triggered a tactical battle of varying fuel and pit strategies for the rest of the race, as teams and drivers decided whether to overcut or undercut rivals with fast pit-in and pit-out laps and perfectly executed stops.

O’Ward stayed out front until he made his first pit stop on Lap 29, handing the lead to Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Total Quartz Honda. Various pit cycles thrust Ed Jones, Harvey, Dixon and Palou into short stints out front before Rahal took control of the race on Lap 44.

Rahal maintained a lead of around 2.5 seconds over O’Ward until rookie Callum Ilott and Dalton Kellett both slowed on track in separate spots on Lap 51, triggering the second caution period of the race on Lap 52.

While a handful of drivers pitted, Rahal elected to stay out and led until Lap 74, when he and second-place Jones pitted to hand the lead to Harvey.

Pit cycles then unfolded over the next 12 laps before Palou, who made his final stop on Lap 79, one lap before teammate Dixon, took the lead for good on Lap 86.

Palou pulled away from Rossi on restarts on Lap 89 and Lap 92 after brief caution periods and reached the checkered flag leading 29 laps for the race. Rahal led a race-high 36 laps before finishing 10th.

NTT P1 Award Qualifying: Portland

Palou Powers to First Career NTT P1 Award, Pivotal Point at Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021) – Alex Palou rebounded from a disappointing stretch of recent results by winning the NTT P1 Award for the Grand Prix of Portland on Saturday at Portland International Raceway.

Palou earned his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole with a top lap of 58.7701 seconds in the No. 10 PNC Bank Honda, putting the finishing touches on a dominant Saturday under sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. He led the second qualifying session, was second quickest in his first qualifying group and led morning practice.

MEDIA LINKS: Qualifying Results | Post-Qualifying News Conference Transcript | Driver Video Quotes

“I’m super happy with my first pole in INDYCAR,” Palou said. “We’re starting on the best position tomorrow, and we know we have a really fast car. I cannot wait for tomorrow’s race.”

The 110-lap race on the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course starts at 3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, live on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Spaniard Palou will earn one point for the pole, valuable as he entered this event 10 points behind championship leader Pato O’Ward. Palou started on pole for the Genesys 300 in early May at Texas Motor Speedway, but qualifying for that event was canceled due to weather delays, with the starting lineup set by entrant points.

The strong performance at Portland was a powerful rebound from Palou’s two worst finishes of the season in the last two races, 27th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a mechanical problem and 20th at World Wide Technology Raceway after being taken out in a crash.

“This motivates us, but we were already fully motivated,” Palou said. “We all know that the last two race weekends we had, it was out of our control. So, we’re fully laser-focused on these three races we have to get that championship home, and we’ll try to get that.”

Alexander Rossi will join Palou on the front row after qualifying second at 58.8573 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, tying his best starting position of the season.

The second row consists of title contender and six-time series champion Scott Dixon in third with a best lap of 58.8673 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda and Felix Rosenqvist fourth at 58.9505 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Graham Rahal qualified a season-best fifth at 59.0067 in the No. 15 Total Quartz Honda. Colton Herta rounded out the Firestone Fast Six at 59.2796, as his gamble of being the only driver in the Fast Six to use Firestone primary “black” tires instead of alternate “red” tires didn’t pay off.

The pole position was even more valuable for Palou than the bonus point. Dixon was the only other one of the five drivers in contention for the 2021 championship to advance to the Firestone Fast Six. That could give Palou some breathing room on the PIR circuit, where passing opportunities aren’t plentiful, and the tight Turn 1 chicane is a flashpoint for potential collisions at the start and on restarts for cars in a thicket of traffic.

Championship leader O’Ward qualified seventh in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet after being eliminated by teammate Rosenqvist by .0103 of a second on the last lap of the second qualifying session. Marcus Ericsson, 60 points behind O’Ward in fifth, qualified 10th in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, 22 points behind O’Ward in third, will start 18th in the 27-car field in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Newgarden’s qualifying troubles were a symptom of larger woes for Team Penske. All four Penske drivers – Newgarden, 2019 Portland winner Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and rookie Scott McLaughlin – were eliminated in the first round of road or street course qualifying for the first time this season.

British driver Callum Ilott qualified 19th for his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet. Ferrari Formula One test driver Ilott was the second-quickest of the four series rookies in the field, behind only McLaughlin, who qualified 15th in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.

Grand Prix of Portland Fast Facts

Race weekend: Saturday, Sept. 11 – Sunday, Sept. 12

Track: Portland International Raceway, a 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course in Portland, Oregon

Race distance: 110 laps / 216.04 miles

Media Links: Entry List (PDF) | Driver Video Quotes 

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Teams must use one set of primary and one new set of alternate tires in the race. (Note: A seventh set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie driver.)

Twitter: @Portland_GP, @IndyCar, #PortlandGP, #INDYCAR

Event website: www.portlandgp.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)

2019 pole winner: Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), 57.8111 seconds, 122.302 mph

Qualifying record: Will Power, 57.2143 seconds, 123.577 mph, Sept. 1, 2018 (Set in Round 1 of knockout qualifying)

NBC television broadcast: Race, 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 12, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: Saturday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Nick Yeoman will be the lead announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Ryan Myrehn and Alex Wolff will report from the pits. The Grand Prix of Portland will air live on network affiliates, Sirius XM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Saturday, Sept. 11

9 – 10:15 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, Peacock Premium (live)

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live)

3:15 – 3:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES final practice, Peacock Premium (live)

Sunday, Sept. 12

12:05 p.m. – Driver introductions

12:35 p.m. – Command to start engines

12:42 p.m. – Grand Prix of Portland (110 laps/216.04 miles), NBC (live)

Championship facts:

  • Pato O’Ward leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with three races to go for the first time in his career. O’Ward also led the points after his win in the second race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit in June.
  • Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland International Raceway, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship in the same season 10 times: Bobby Rahal (1987), Danny Sullivan (1988), Emerson Fittipaldi (1989), Michael Andretti (1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1998), Gil de Ferran (2000), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Sebastien Bourdais (2004 and 2007).

Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the driver who has led the championship with three races to go has won the championship eight times – Scott Dixon in 2008, 2018 and 2020, Dario Franchitti in 2011, Will Power in 2014, Simon Pagenaud in 2016 and Josef Newgarden in 2017 and 2019.

Point differential: The 10 points that separate Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou is the fourth-closest point margin since 2008. Prior to this season, the average lead with three races to go since 2008 was 31.7 points.

Championship-eligible drivers results at Portland International Raceway:

  • There are 11 drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship: Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal, Will Power, Takuma Sato and Rinus VeeKay. Any driver who trails the points leader by 108 points or more following the race will be eliminated from contention.

CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THREE TO GO (2008-2021)

YEARLEADERSECOND LEADCHAMPION
2008Scott DixonHelio Castroneves78Scott Dixon
2009Ryan BriscoeDario Franchitti4Dario Franchitti
2010Will PowerDario Franchitti23Dario Franchitti
2011Dario FranchittiWill Power26Dario Franchitti
2012Will PowerRyan Hunter-Reay5Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013Helio CastronevesScott Dixon49Scott Dixon
2014Will PowerHelio Castroneves4Will Power
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaGraham Rahal42Scott Dixon (-48)
2016Simon PagenaudWill Power27Simon Pagenaud
2017Josef NewgardenScott Dixon18Josef Newgarden
2018Scott DixonAlexander Rossi29Scott Dixon
2019Josef NewgardenAlexander Rossi35Josef Newgarden
2020Scott DixonJosef Newgarden72Scott Dixon
2021Pato O’WardAlex Palou10?

Race notes:

  • There have been nine different winners in 13 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville), Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and World Wide Technology Raceway) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
  • There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Pato O’WardRinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Alex PalouMarcus Ericsson, Josef Newgarden and Will Power) The only repeat winners in that stretch are O’Ward (Texas-2, and Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville) and Newgarden (Mid-Ohio and WWT Raceway).
  • The Grand Prix of Portland will be the 27th INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland International Raceway, but the third since the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returned in 2018. Al Unser Jr. won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at Portland in 1984, while Will Power won the most recent race in 2019. Power, Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais, who won in 2004 and 2007, are the only former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • Six INDYCAR SERIES drivers have won at Portland International Raceway from the pole – Danny Sullivan (1988), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Max Papis (2001), Cristiano da Matta (2002) and Sebastien Bourdais (2004).
  • Team Penske has won six times at Portland International Raceway. Penske’s winning INDYCAR SERIES drivers are Danny Sullivan (1988), Emerson Fittipaldi (1993), Al Unser Jr. (1994 and 1995), Gil de Ferran (2000) and Will Power (2019). Chip Ganassi Racing has two wins at Portland with Alex Zanardi in 1996 and 1998. Newman/Haas Racing won a record eight times at Portland.
  • Seventeen drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at Portland International Raceway. Sebastien Bourdais has seven starts, most among the entered drivers. Ten entered drivers have led laps at the track (Bourdais 149, Will Power 66, Colton Herta 36, Alexander Rossi 32, Takuma Sato 25, Ryan Hunter-Reay 19, Scott Dixon 11, Max Chilton 10, Josef Newgarden 8 and Felix Rosenqvist 3).
  • Pato O’Ward won both Indy Lights races at Portland in 2018, on his way to the series championship…Graham Rahal scored the first win of his professional racing career at Portland, winning the Star Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000 championship) race in 2005. James Hinchcliffe claimed his first Atlantics Championship win in Portland in 2006.
  • Four rookies – Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, Jimmie Johnson and Scott McLaughlin – are expected to compete. Ilott will be making his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut. The four rookies, along with veteran drivers Oliver AskewMarcus EricssonDalton KellettPato O’WardAlex Palou and Rinus VeeKay, will all be making their first INDYCAR SERIES at Portland International Raceway.

INDYCAR To Commemorate 9/11 through Charitable Activations, Special Race Weekend Ceremonies

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021) – INDYCAR will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on America through a variety of special activities leading into Saturday, Sept. 11.

A commemorative charitable pin, a blood donation call-out in partnership with the American Red Cross and a moment of silence Sept. 11 during the Grand Prix of Portland NTT INDYCAR SERIES race weekend are planned as memorials honoring the victims of the attacks and commemorating the heroes of the response and recovery effort. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost and thousands more were injured Sept. 11, 2001, in the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

“9/11 was a tragic day, and the heartbreak and sorrow of our grieving nation still feels raw two decades later,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “The entire INDYCAR family of drivers, teams, officials, partners and fans is committed to honoring the memory of those we lost and recognizing the heroes who contributed to the response effort and who have protected our freedom since Sept. 11, 2001. We also encourage everyone to join us in marking this solemn anniversary by supporting the vital mission of the American Red Cross, which played such a crucial role in the aftermath of the attacks and continues to faithfully serve all of our communities today.”

The commemorative pin, available for pre-order now at shop.indycar.com, features a logo including the date 9.11.2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the outline of the Pentagon and the motto “Together We Stand.” Net proceeds of pin sales will benefit the American Red Cross, and the pin also will be worn by members of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES paddock during the Grand Prix of Portland race weekend. The logo also will be on display on all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights race entries across the weekend.

Fans are encouraged to donate blood through the American Red Cross as part of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, as the COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for blood donations across America. INDYCAR and the Red Cross will issue several callouts to fans ahead of this year’s solemn anniversary. Visit redcross.org/give-blood.html to find out how to give blood in your area and to learn about more opportunities to support vital Hurricane Ida relief efforts.

Alongside Portland International Raceway, INDYCAR also will hold a venue-wide moment of silence at 7:28 a.m. (PT) – the time the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed Sept. 11, 2001 – on Saturday morning, Sept. 11 to honor the memory of those lost during the attacks. In addition, INDYCAR and PIR will include a tribute during pre-race ceremonies Sunday, Sept. 12.

Visit this site for more information about INDYCAR memorial activities surrounding the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Race Report

MADISON, Ill. (Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021) – Josef Newgarden earned his second victory of the season by winning the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline on Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway in a race that shuffled the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship deck.

Newgarden drove his No. 2 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet to victory by 0.5397 of a second over Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP. O’Ward didn’t enter Victory Lane, but he also was a big winner of the night by taking the championship lead by 10 points over Alex Palou, who placed 20th after being eliminated in a three-car accident early in the race.

MEDIA LINKS: Official Results | Driver Video Quotes | Post-Race News Conference Transcript

Two-time series champion Newgarden leaped from fourth to third – 22 points behind O’Ward – with his third career victory on this 1.25-mile oval and his 20th overall career win. He averaged 135.245 mph, leading 138 of 260 laps in the final oval race of the season.

“I couldn’t ask for much more,” Newgarden said. “Everyone did a great job. I’m thrilled. We’ve got to keep going. We know this is going to be a climb, but this goes a long way tonight.

“Any win is important for the year. Wish we had a couple more to this point and were in a different position, but we’ve always got to fight with where we’re at and what we’ve got in our hands.”

There are three races remaining in the season, all on road and street courses on consecutive weekends in September on the West Coast. The next event is the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, Sept. 12 at Portland (Oregon) International Raceway.

O’Ward used smart aggression all night to avoid incidents that triggered six caution periods, including five in the first 65 laps. He scored his eighth top-five finish in 13 races this year.

“It was a very solid points day for us,” O’Ward said. “I think we maximized what we could have gotten out of our car and our race.”

NTT P1 Award winner Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, and Scott McLaughlin gave Team Penske three of the top four finishing positions by placing fourth in the No. 3 DEX Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet.

Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth, tying a season best, in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. Formula One veteran Romain Grosjean finished 14th in his oval racing debut in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda, completing 259 of 260 laps.

Newgarden took the lead for good under caution on Lap 203 when Bourdais, on a different fuel strategy from other lead cars, entered the pits for his final stop. Newgarden maintained a gap anywhere from seven-tenths to one second over O’Ward after the restart on Lap 210.

O’Ward closed to within a half-second in the closing five laps but ran out of time to challenge Newgarden for victory.

The complexion of the championship race changed dramatically on Lap 65 during a restart, when six-time and reigning series champion Dixon, Palou and Rinus VeeKay were involved in a crash in Turn 1.

VeeKay’s No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet hit the rear of Dixon’s No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda at the apex of Turn 1 in a thicket of traffic during the restart, sending both cars into a spin into the SAFER Barrier. VeeKay’s car collected Palou’s No. 10 The American Legion Honda en route to the wall, eliminating Palou in 20th and VeeKay in 21st.

Palou had climbed into 10th place after starting 21st due to a nine-spot grid position penalty because of an unapproved engine change after the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix last Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I thought I was on the outside, and suddenly I got hit,” Palou said. “I had plenty of room with Scott, and Scott had plenty of room with the guy in front, and we just got hit. There was no space there. I don’t know where he (VeeKay) wanted to go.

“It was hard to get up to the top 10. We just wanted to have a clean race, we just wanted to get some points, and I thought we had a good race car. Nothing we could do today. It’s just a shame it played out like that.”

Said VeeKay: “I’m very sorry for Alex and Scott. I had a really good restart on the inside of Alex and behind Scott. I get into Turn 1, and I was really focusing on Scott, just to stay behind him, and it just kind of stacked up. I tried to slow down, but we’re in oval spec, and I think just before I hit Scott, I’m even locking up the fronts. Unfortunately, everybody knows how it happened. All night, people have been checking up, which for everyone is pretty annoying.”

Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing crew repaired his car, and he returned to the race to try to gain points. Dixon dropped out late in the race in 19th place, 160 laps down. He dropped to fourth in the standings, 43 points behind O’Ward.

It was the first time Dixon failed to finish a race since this event in August 2019, ending a streak of 28 consecutive races running at the finish.

Marcus Ericsson finished ninth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to stay fifth in the standings and keep his championship hopes flickering, 60 points behind leader O’Ward.

Andretti Autosport’s tough season continued with more heartbreaking misfortune. Colton Herta entered the pits in the lead on Lap 186, but the driveshaft broke in his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda as he exited the pits, ending his night. He was credited with 18th place after leading 101 laps, second only to Newgarden.

2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Alexander Rossi was running in the top five for part of the race and appeared to be a threat to Newgarden when he hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 on his out lap after his final pit stop on Lap 201. Rossi placed 17th in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Qualifying Order

QP Car Driver Name Team Name1 4 Dalton Kellett AJ Foyt Enterprises2 59 Conor Daly Carlin3 7 Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP4 48 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing5 18 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan6 29 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport7 14 Sebastien Bourdais AJ Foyt Enterprises8 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport9 60…

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Race Preview: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021) – Since opening in 1997, World Wide Technology Raceway has been a racetrack of INDYCAR’s elite, with all 12 races won by drivers who had either won a series championship (or soon would) or an Indianapolis 500.

Whether that trend continues Saturday night is to be determined, but it is a fact too significant to discount when sizing up the 24-car field.Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet) and Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing) not only have combined to win the past four series championships, they were the race winners in last year’s doubleheader at this 1.25-mile track in Madison, Illinois. Newgarden also won the 2017 race, making him the track’s winningest INDYCAR driver.

Thus, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network) sets up well for the two veterans as they try to claw their way back into title contention. With four races remaining, Dixon is third in the standings, 34 points behind series leader and Ganassi teammate Alex Palou (No. 10 The American Legion Honda). Newgarden occupies the position behind Dixon, 55 points out of the lead.

With the right set of circumstances, Palou is susceptible to losing as many as 48 points to another driver in this race. Something similar nearly happened in last week’s Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course when mechanical failure caused Palou to finish 27th of the 28 car-and-driver combinations. In other words, another shakeup is possible this weekend.

Second-place Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) enters this event 21 points out of the lead. His fifth-place finish at IMS, coupled with Palou’s trouble, cut 27 points out of his deficit and intensified the championship pursuit. Marcus Ericsson’s ninth-place finish in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing drew him to within 62 points of the lead, increasing the chances of five drivers being in this title showdown.

Saturday’s race is the last oval event and final night race of the season. The final three races – Sept. 12 at Portland International Raceway, Sept. 19 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Sept. 26 on the streets of Long Beach, California – will be staged on permanent road courses or temporary street circuits.


Grosjean Making Oval-Track Debut

Despite all the success of veteran drivers at this venue, an intriguing subplot of this event is Romain Grosjean’s oval-track debut.

The 10-year veteran of Formula One’s road racing series entered his first INDYCAR season wanting to take a wait-and-see approach to the ovals. Initially, he decided to sit them out, but with World Wide Technology Raceway being a short track and Grosjean now familiar with INDYCAR’s safety elements, he decided to give oval racing a go. He said he felt comfortable during last month’s test at the track.“

I want to see how it’s going,” Grosjean said of oval racing. “Everyone (in INDYCAR) seems to be enjoying ovals. I still prefer road courses (because) I like braking late. But I’m looking forward to it and seeing what we can get out of it.”

Grosjean drives the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, which is basically the same entry Santino Ferrucci piloted in his INDYCAR oval-track debut in 2019. Ferrucci posted top-10 finishes in three of his four oval races that season, including a fourth-place finish at Gateway. Last year, Palou showed well with this organization in the first four short-oval races of his career, posting an average finish of 13.0 at this track and Iowa Speedway.

Point being, team owner Dale Coyne has had success bringing along oval-track newcomers. Grosjean hopes to be the latest.“

There is not much room for mistake, and that’s something you need to keep in mind rather than just trying to go (all out) straight away,” Grosjean said.

A Power-ful Run Ahead?

Like Newgarden and Dixon, Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet) and Takuma Sato (No. 30 Panasonic/Mi-Jack Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) are former INDYCAR race winners at World Wide Technology Raceway.

Power is one to watch this weekend as he regained his mojo last weekend at IMS, earning his first victory of the season to extend his streak of winning seasons to 15 (second only to Dixon’s record 17). The 40th victory of his INDYCAR career moved Power ahead of Al Unser for sole possession of fifth place on the sport’s all-time chart. Power is just two race wins from matching Michael Andretti for fourth place.

Power not only has won at Gateway, he also will be INDYCAR’s defending champion at Portland, and he is a two-time Long Beach winner. In terms of title hopes, Power is too far in arrears – 137 points in the ninth position – to capture his second championship, but if he is indeed back in the groove, he could be an obstacle for those still in title pursuit.

Know this about Power: He usually gets hot late in the season. He has won at least one of the final four races in each of the past five seasons and in seven of the past eight. In 2019, he won two of the final four, and in 2013 he won three of the final five.

“Winning is absolutely what makes me happy,” he said. “I’m very moody when I haven’t won for a while. Just ask my wife.”

O’Ward Ready To Pounce

O’Ward wasn’t eager to celebrate a fifth-place finish at IMS because Palou was ahead of him at the time of his mechanical trouble.But O’Ward didn’t apologize for slicing his deficit by more than half because bad luck befalls every competitor at some point.

“It was very unfortunate for (Palou), but he hasn’t had bad luck at any point in the season – we have,” O’Ward said. “In racing, it doesn’t exist to have (good) luck in every single race. That doesn’t exist.”

O’Ward likes how the rest of the schedule shapes up for him. He finished third and second, respectively, in the two World Wide Technology Raceway events last year, and he swept the Indy Lights doubleheader in 2018 at Portland. Also, he has raced at Long Beach in INDYCAR while Palou has not.

Palou finished 12th and 15th last year at Gateway. He also never has raced in Portland or Laguna Seca, although he has tested at each.“From now on, we don’t go worse than fifth,” O’Ward said. “We just continue to go better.”

Sato’s Kind of Place

Sato has not had as strong of a season as last year, but World Wide Technology Raceway has been good to him in the past.

In addition to winning the 2019 race, Sato was a factor in both races last year – finishing second in Race 1 by .1404 of a second, and winning the pole and leading a race-high 66 laps in Race 2 before finishing ninth.

If Sato can win one of the season’s final four races, he will become one of only four drivers to have won a race in each of the past five seasons. Dixon, Newgarden and Power already have accomplished that.

Odds and Ends

  • Ericsson finished ninth on the IMS road course and continues to be the driver with the most points scored since the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. He has earned 215 points in that six-race span, which is 32 more than the 183 O’Ward has collected. Newgarden has scored 176, Dixon 169 and Palou 167.
  • Power has won a pair of NTT P1 Award poles at World Wide Technology Raceway, which could bode well for scoring his first pole of the season. Power has won at least one pole in each of the past 12 seasons and is five poles behind Mario Andretti’s record 67.
  • Tony Kanaan, the 2004 INDYCAR champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner, returns to action this weekend, driving the No. 48 Carvana Honda that Jimmie Johnson has piloted on the road courses and street circuits. This will be Kanaan’s fourth race of the season. He finished second in the 2003 race at this track.
  • Ed Carpenter also will make his final start of the season, driving the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet that Conor Daly has driven on road courses and street circuits. Daly moves to the No. 59 Carlin Chevrolet that Max Chilton drives most of the season.
  • This is Daly’s second-favorite track (behind Indianapolis Motor Speedway). He has started four INDYCAR races at WWTR with two different teams (AJ Foyt Racing and Carlin). Despite having an average starting position of 15.0, he has finished fifth, sixth, 10th and eighth, respectively.
  • The Road to Indy program will join the NTT INDYCAR SERIES at this event, with Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 action Friday and a single Indy Lights race on Saturday. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ on-track activity begins with a 90-minute practice Saturday at 1:15 p.m. (ET) and NTT P1 Award qualifying at 5 p.m. ET (both sessions live exclusively on Peacock Premium, NBC Sports’ streaming service). The 260-lap Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline will be live on NBCSN at 8 p.m., with a green flag estimated at 8:45 p.m.

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Fast Facts

Race weekend: Saturday, Aug. 21

Track: World Wide Technology Raceway, a 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Illinois

Race distance: 260 laps / 325 miles

Media links: Entry List | Driver Video Quotes |

Firestone tire allotment: Nine sets for use throughout the weekend

Twitter: @WWTRaceway, @IndyCar, #Bommarito500, #IndyCar

Event website: www.wwtraceway.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2020 race winners: Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) and Josef Newgarden (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet)

2020 NTT P1 Award winners: Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), 24.6718 seconds, 182.394 mph) and Takuma Sato (No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda), 24.6577 seconds, 182.499 mph)

One-lap qualifying record: Will Power, 23.7206 seconds, 189.709 mph, Aug. 25, 2017

NBCSN television broadcasts: Race, 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 21 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for the NBCSN telecast alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

Peacock Premium Live Streaming: The NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice session and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman is the turn announcer. Ryan Myrehn and Jake Query will report from the pits. The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will air live on network affiliates, Sirius XM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Saturday, Aug. 21

12:15-1:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice #1, Peacock Premium (live)

4 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Single car, Two laps), Peacock Premium (live)

7 p.m. – NBCSN on air

7:40 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”

7:45 p.m. – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (260 laps/305 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Championship facts:

  • Alex Palou leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with four races to go for the first time in his INDYCAR SERIES career. Palou has led the point standings after eight of the 12 races this season.
  • Since the first INDYCAR SERIES race at World Wide Technology Raceway, the winning driver has won the INDYCAR SERIES championship three times: Alex Zanardi (1998), Josef Newgarden (2017) and Scott Dixon (2020-Race 1).

Key championship point statistic: Since 2008, the largest deficit overcome by the eventual champion was 59 points by Dario Franchitti in 2010, while Scott Dixon overcame Juan Pablo Montoya’s 54-point lead in 2015. The top five drivers in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship standings are separated by 62 points.

Point differential: The 21 points that separate Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward is the fifth-closest point margin since 2008. Before this season, the average lead with four races to go since 2008 was 38.9 points.

CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 4 TO GO

YEARLEADERSECOND LEADCHAMPION
2008Scott DixonHelio Castroneves65Scott Dixon
2009Scott DixonRyan Briscoe3Dario Franchitti (-20)
2010Will PowerDario Franchitti59Dario Franchitti
2011Dario FranchittiWill Power47Dario Franchitti
2012Ryan Hunter-ReayHelio Castroneves23Ryan Hunter-Reay
2013Helio CastronevesScott Dixon39Scott Dixon
2014Helio CastronevesWill Power13Will Power
2015Juan Pablo MontoyaScott Dixon54Scott Dixon
2016Simon PagenaudWill Power58Simon Pagenaud
2017Josef NewgardenHelio Castroneves7Josef Newgarden
2018Scott DixonAlexander Rossi46Scott Dixon
2019Josef NewgardenAlexander Rossi16Josef Newgarden
2020Scott DixonJosef Newgarden76Scott Dixon
2021Alex PalouPato O’Ward21?

Race notes:

  • There have been nine different winners in 12 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park, Road America), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2, Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500), Marcus Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1, Streets of Nashville), Josef Newgarden (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-2) have all won in 2021. The modern record (1946-present) for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
  • There have been eight different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Scott DixonPato O’WardRinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Alex PalouMarcus Ericsson, Josef Newgarden and Will Power) The only repeat winners in that stretch are O’Ward (Texas-2 and Raceway at Belle Isle Park-2) and Ericsson (Raceway at Belle Isle Park-1 and Streets of Nashville)
  • The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be the 13th INDYCAR SERIES race at World Wide Technology Raceway. Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden split the doubleheader races in 2020. Paul Tracy won the first INDYCAR SERIES race at WWTR in 1997. Dixon, Newgarden, Takuma Sato (2019) and Will Power (2018) are the former winners entered in this year’s race.
  • The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 will be the fourth and final oval race of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule. The previous oval races were won by Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2) and Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis Motor Speedway).
  • Three drivers have won at World Wide Technology Raceway from the pole – Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Gil de Ferran (2002) and Helio Castroneves (2003).
  • Team Penske has won six times at World Wide Technology Raceway. Penske’s winning drivers are Paul Tracy (1997), Gil de Ferran (2002), Helio Castroneves (2003), Josef Newgarden (2017, 2020-Race 2) and Will Power (2018). Chip Ganassi Racing has three wins at Gateway with Alex Zanardi (1998), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Scott Dixon (2020-Race 1).
  • Twenty-one drivers entered in the event have competed in past INDYCAR SERIES races at World Wide Technology Raceway. Tony Kanaan has nine starts, most among the entered drivers. Fourteen entered drivers have led laps at the track (Josef Newgarden 268, Scott Dixon 251, Will Power 200, Takuma Sato 145, Pato O’Ward 130, Kanaan 21, Colton Herta 20, James Hinchcliffe 20, Simon Pagenaud 13, Sebastien Bourdais 6, Alexander Rossi 4, Felix Rosenqvist 3, Marcus Ericsson 2 and Conor Daly 1).
  • Two rookies – Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin – are expected to compete. Both rookies along with Dalton Kellett will make their first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at World Wide Technology Raceway. It will be Grosjean’s first race on an oval.

Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix Race Report

Power Extends Reign as King of IMS Road
with First Win of Year

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021) – Will Power finally got his first victory of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season on a track he has mastered like no other.

Power drove the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet to victory in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix on Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, his fifth career win on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile layout that debuted in 2014.

MEDIA LINKS: Official Results | Driver Video Quotes | Post-Race Press Conference TranscriptIt was the 40th career INDYCAR SERIES victory for Power, who broke a tie with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser to climb into fifth on the all-time list. The win also was the sixth of Power’s career at IMS, as he also won the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Only NASCAR star Kyle Busch, with two Brickyard 400 wins and four Xfinity Series wins on the oval, has as many major race victories at the Racing Capital of the World.

“We needed that as a group,” Power said. “I can’t tell you how good these guys have been all year. Flawless on pit stops. They’ve given me the car, and we’ve had some bad luck. I’ve made some mistakes, as well.

“So stoked to get the Verizon 5G car in Victory Lane. Oh, what a relief, man!”

Rookie Romain Grosjean equaled his season-best finish – on this same circuit in the GMR Grand Prix in May – by placing second in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda, 1.1142 seconds behind Power. Colton Herta rebounded from his disappointing late-race crash last Sunday in Nashville to finish third in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi earned his season-best finish by placing fourth in the No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda. NTT P1 Award winner Pato O’Ward finished fifth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, but he still ended up a winner because of a dramatic shift in the championship standings.

O’Ward pulled to within 21 points of series leader Alex Palou with four races remaining in the season, as Palou retired from the race on Lap 68 with a mechanical problem while running fourth in his No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Palou led six-time and reigning series champion Scott Dixon by 42 points entering this event. Dixon fell to third but still trimmed the margin to the top, 34 points behind Palou, after placing 17th – tying his season low – in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.

A tense, strategic duel erupted into a mad dash for the checkered flag when Palou retired from the race.

Palou was running fourth and closing on Grosjean on Lap 68 when smoke began to flow from the rear of his No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in Turn 4. He pulled off track and hopped from his car, out of the race with a 27th-place result, his lowest of the season.

There were warning signs from the opening lap about possible troubles for Palou, who told his team on the radio after Lap 1 that he felt down on power.

“We started having some issues with the mapping, and we weren’t sure what was going on,” Palou said. “We managed like 60 laps, and it was fine. We were losing a bit of power, but it wasn’t too bad. We were trying to fight for a podium, and we had to stop.

“It’s a shame when we were running so good, but it’s just a bump in the road. We’ll continue, and we’ll get those points back.”

The ensuing full-course caution, the first of the 85-lap race, erased Power’s 1.9-second lead over Herta. Grosjean, who had closed to within a car length of Herta’s gearbox before the caution, passed Herta for second on Lap 72 on the restart.

Power maintained a 1.1-second lead over Grosjean when the field was bunched again by a full-course caution on Lap 77 when Rinus VeeKay’s No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet stalled in Turn 7 after contact from behind by the No. 3 CarShop Team Penske Chevrolet of Scott McLaughlin.

“When the yellow came and then another one, you’ve got to survive those yellows,” Power said. “We had a really good car. It’s tough to get by lapped traffic, but the car was solid out front.”

2014 series champion Power kept the lead on the restart on Lap 79, helped by Grosjean using all 200 seconds of his push-to-pass by Lap 65. He maintained a gap of about one second to Grosjean over the final six laps, with both drivers running on the Firestone alternate “red” tires.

“We had a good car all day long, and we fought at the front,” Grosjean said. “We ran out of push-to-pass early today. I had to use quite a bit early in the race to make sure we were going through the lapped cars. Through the end, Will had more than I did. I just had to go flat out and try not to make any mistakes.”

Various tire and fuel strategies unfolded during the first 67 laps of the race, which ran caution-free. That helped breed 11 lead changes among six drivers as teams tried to undercut and overcut rivals with well-timed pit stops.

Herta appeared to be the biggest threat to Power, as he trimmed a deficit of nearly nine seconds to just 1.9 seconds before Palou’s problem triggered the first caution.

The next race is the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 on Saturday evening, Aug. 21 at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis. It’s the final oval race of the season.

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