NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Josef Newgarden pretty much has figured out World Wide Technology Raceway. In the space of five years, he’s won the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 three times. Going back to 1997, when Indy cars began racing at WWTR, no one else has won more than once at the egg-shaped oval. Considered a short oval by INDYCAR drivers, the track presents unique challenges: Turns 1 and 2 and different from Turns 3 and 4. It doesn’t seem to bother Newgarden – he’s dialed in at WWTR.
“You know, I love short oval racing. I really do,” said Newgarden. “I think World Wide Technology Raceway is a great track. It’s one of my favorite events that we have all year. It’s sometimes difficult to have confidence in your car because it is so fast, and the cornering speeds have a lot of high commitment. But as a driver we like those challenges of trying to find that confidence and edge over your competitors.
“I can’t really remember each of my WWTR victories in great detail. I do remember the first one in 2017 where Simon Pagenaud and I were racing really hard there. That one is really clear. I remember last year’s, for sure. I guess it’s the middle win that I can’t recall too well. We’ve run there in the day in 2020 and we’ve run there at night, which is the typical race weekend at WWTR. It is a challenge either way. Under the sun you lose a little grip, but at night you obviously gain more grip. You lose some confidence in the car during the day when you’re sliding around a bit. It’s one of those things where you have to tune around the handling depending on the conditions.
“Sometimes, close, hard racing is necessary to make a move happen or to pull off a pass. You try and assert yourself over another driver to gain a position, and there are no gimmes at WWTR. Sometimes you have to force the issue and that can create conflicts and flareups, but that is also exciting to watch when it happens. You 100 percent get that in St. Louis.”
It’s not surprising Newgarden has a strong fan base in the St. Louis region.
“We get a lot of fans that drive up from my hometown of Nashville. I drive up myself. It’s only four hours away, so not a bad drive at all. Short ovals are great events for fans because you can see the entire track. You don’t miss any of the action, and there is quite a bit of action in St. Louis. You get great pit exchanges when the tires start to fade, and guys come in early for the undercut or stay out longer for the overcut. You get that a lot at WWTR. It’s an interesting race to watch from a lot of different angles.
“The entire group at the facility have taken it up to today’s standards. It’s a beautiful track that is very fun to drive. The entire weekend is filled with activities off-track and other series on-track. They give you great value and do it as well as any track we go to. They knock it out of the park.”
In less than one week we’ll see if Newgarden needs to make room in his trophy case for a fourth Bommarito Automotive Group 500 trophy.
CART World Series
1997 -- Paul Tracy
1998 -- Alex Zanardi
1999 -- Michael Andretti
2000 -- Juan Pablo Montoya
2001 -- Al Unser Jr.
2002 -- Gil de Ferran
2003 -- Hélio Castroneves
NTT INDYCAR SERIES
2017 -- Josef Newgarden
2018 -- Will Power
2019 -- Takuma Sato
2020 -- Race 1: Scott Dixon; Race 2: Josef Newgarden
2021 -- Josef Newgarden
BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 PRESENTED BY AXALTA AND VALVOLINE WEEKEND
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES brings the world to the St. Louis-Metro East region. Truly an international series: America’s best drivers competing against men and women from New Zealand, Spain, Australia, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Denmark, England, Canada and Switzerland. They are the cars and stars of the Indianapolis 500.
Bringing the St. Louis region to the world: Viewers from more than 200 countries will tune in to watch the Bommarito Automotive Group 500, the final oval track race on the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule.
Two of American motorsports’ most recognizable names of all time – Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt – remain active in the sport today as team owners.
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline has produced many memorable moments, including Takuma Sato’s thrilling win over Ed Carpenter – the closest finish in WWTR history (by 0.039 sec.) -- in 2019. Only one driver has won the Bommarito Automotive Group more than once: Josef Newgarden is a three-time victor.
Tickets and weekend experiences are available at the WWTR ticket office, by calling (618) 215-888, or online at wwtraceway.com.
BOMMARITO AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 500 WEEKEND SCHEDULE
Friday, August 19
7:30 a.m. -- Parking lots open.
8 a.m. – Spectator gates open; Fan Walk open for paddock pass holders.
8 a.m. -- Indy Pro 2000 practice.
9 a.m. – INDYCAR garage and paddock opens for paddock pass holders.
9:15 a.m. -- Vintage Indy exhibition.
10 a.m. -- USAC Silver Crown Series practice.
10:45 a.m. -- Indy Pro 2000 practice.
12 p.m. -- NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 practice.
1 p.m. – Midway entertainment begins.
1:15 p.m. -- USAC Silver Crown Series practice.
2:10 p.m. -- Indy Lights Series practice.
3:15 p.m. -- NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 practice.
4:15 p.m. -- Coors Light Pole Night festivities begin.
4:30 p.m. -- USAC Silver Crown Series qualifying.
5:15 p.m. -- Indy Lights Series qualifying.
6:15 p.m. -- NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 qualifying.
7:50 p.m. -- Coors Light Pole Night qualifying awards.
8 p.m. -- USAC Silver Crown Series driver introductions.
8:30 p.m. -- USAC Silver Crown Series Gateway 100 (80 laps, 100 miles).
11 p.m. – Track closed.
Saturday, August 20 – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline
8 a.m. -- Parking lots open.
8:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open; Fan Walk open for paddock pass holders.
9 a.m. -- Vintage Indy exhibition.
9:45 a.m. -- Indy Pro 2000 practice.
10:15 a.m. – Midway entertainment begins.
11 a.m. – BMX Freestyle Team exhibition.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Indy Lights driver autograph session (main stage on midway)
11:45 a.m. -- Indy Pro 2000 qualifying.
12 p.m. -- INDYCAR garage and paddock opens for paddock pass holders.
12-1 p.m. – SpeedFreaks Live! (main stage on midway) – INDYCAR drivers will participate 12-12:30 p.m. Indy Lights drivers will participate from 12:30-1 p.m.
12:30-1:30 p.m. – INDYCAR driver autograph session (main stage on midway).
1 p.m. -- BMX Freestyle Team exhibition.
1:15 p.m. -- Vintage Indy exhibition.
12:30-2 p.m. -- SpeedFreaks Live! Driver Interviews on midway stage.
2:15 p.m. -- Indy Pro 2000 Series race (45 laps).
3:15 p.m. -- Indy Lights Series race (75 laps).
4:45 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 driver introductions.
5 p.m. – Sixth annual NTT INDYCAR SERIES Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (260 laps).
7:30 p.m. -- BMX Freestyle Team exhibition.
7:45 p.m. -- Post-race track walk for fans and victory lane celebration (time approximate).
8 p.m. – post-race concert on midway stage.
11 p.m. – Track closed.
Schedule subject to change.