MADISON, Ill — For the doubleheader weekend formats on ovals, the NTT IndyCar Series uses a unique way of setting the lineup for both races. Lap 1 determines the lineup for the first race of the weekend while Lap 2 will set the starting lineup for the second race of the twinbills.
That’s how we got to the 23 car field and how they will lineup not only for today’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, INDYCAR Radio Network) but also for Sunday’s race as well.
Will Power earned his 59th career Indy Car pole for today’s race with a speed of 182.394 mph in his No. 12 Chevrolet. Power, qualified third for Sunday’s race in circling the 1.25 mile Gateway oval with a speed of 182.474 mph.
Takuma Sato will roll off from the top starting spot on Sunday in earning his 10th career Indy Car pole with a speed of 182.499 mph in his No. 30 Honda on his second lap. The Indy 500 champion last Sunday will roll off fifth (181.286 mph) today.
For Saturday’s race, Pato O’Ward (182.076 mph), points leader Scott Dixon (182.006 mph) and Marcus Ericsson (181.364 mph) rounded out the top five of the starting lineup.
For Sunday’s race, Newgarden (182.477 mph), O’Ward (182.280 mph) and Jack Harvey (181.800 mph) rounds out the top five for the 200 lap weekend finale.
Where this is big is, the last five Indy Car race winners at the World Wide Technology Raceway have come from a top five starting spot including the last six from the top eight. Furthermore, 22 of the last 24 race winners in the series overall have come from a starting spot in the top 4 Rows.
Here are the main takeaways.
- O’Ward is a solid sleeper. He was fastest in Friday’s lone practice and qualified his No. 5 Chevrolet second and fourth for the two races this weekend.
- Dixon is doing just enough. He was third in Friday’s practice and will start third and sixth respectively this weekend. He has five top two finishes in 2020 and two podiums in his last three Gateway tries.
- Newgarden is keeping an eye on Dixon still. He won this race in 2017 and is 84 points out in second in the standings to Dixon. He qualified sixth and second respectively.
- Can Power finally get some luck? He’s qualified well here in the past. He did so again this weekend. He qualified on the pole and third for this weekend’s doubleheader. But, he’s crashed out in two of his three Gateway tries too. In the race he didn’t crash, he won in 2018.
- Pagenaud’s qualifying struggles continue – He qualified P13 and P8 for this weekend. He was third at Texas earlier this year and finished runner-up. But, in the other qualifying attempts, Pagenaud has started outside of 20th in five of the nine overall races and 13th or worse in seven of the last eight races. His teammates start 1-6 on Saturday and 2-3 on Sunday.
- Andretti guys just okay. Not shocking as their short oval pace has been suspect lately. On Saturday, they’ll start 8-9-10-19-23. For Sunday’s race, they’ll come from 9-11-12-17-20.
- Jack Harvey continues his hot trend – The lead Andretti participant was their alliance car with Harvey qualifying seventh and fifth respectively in Gateway. HE’s had seven top 10 starting spots in nine quailfying attempts this year.
- Marco Andretti went from the pole at Indy to 19-20 this weekend.
- Graham Rahal struggled in Friday’s practice. They were even further off on Saturday. He will start in the last row both days. His teammate starts P5 and P1 respectively.