MADISON, Ill — The time is here to race Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (6 p.m. ET, USA, INDYCAR Radio Network) at the World Wide Technology Raceway. So who wins?
Green Flag: 5:30 p.m. locally
Sunset: 7:48 p.m.
Weather: 60% chance of rain at green flag, 50-60% throughout the evening
Halfway: Lap 130
Race Distance: 260 Laps/325 Miles
Race Length: Around 2 1/2 hours
The weather is certainly a factor because if we get to halfway (Lap 130) and it rains a lot after, the race would be called and effectively ended early as an “official race.” So you do have that working against your picks. However, that’s something that you just can’t plan for either which is why it’s best to be cautiously optimistic.
- Chevy has won 10 of the last 12 short oval races including going 1-2-3 not only here last year but in both Iowa races last month.
- Team Penske has won 8 of the 10 races for the Chevy camp including going 6-for-8 here.
- Penske has 3 of the top 4 starters
- 4 out of the last 5 races at WWTR have seen the driver that led the most laps fail to win. In 2018, Scott Dixon led 145 laps but finished third. In 2019, Santino Ferrucci led 97 laps but finished fourth. In 2020, Pato O’Ward (94 laps in Race 1) and Takuma Sato (66 laps led in Race 2) finished third and ninth respectively.
- Starting Position Matters: We’ve seen 8 straight Gateway winners coming from a top five starting spot, 9 straight from the top 8 and 6 of the last 8 from the top three.
- At Iowa, the last 3 were won by a top 7 starter including 6 of the last 8 overall there.
- On the season, 11 of the 14 races were won by a top 7 starter including 6 of the last 7 at that. The only 3 not? The rain in Indy for the GMR Grand Prix and 2 street course races at Belle Isle and Nashville.
- Josef Newgarden (+280) Safe bet here because he fits the mold of all the top trends. He starts 3rd and that’s the exact same position he won from last year. He’s won the last 2 WWTR races and should have swept Iowa.
- Pato O’Ward (+500) He finished runner-up in each of the last 2 WWTR races as well as finishing 2nd and 1st respectively at Iowa last month. O’Ward has 8 podiums finishes in his last 10 oval starts himself.
- Scott McLaughlin (+800) The Penske driver has 7 top 5 finishes so far during his career and among his 7 top 5 finishes in the sport, 4 of which came on ovals including here last year and Race 2 at Iowa last month.
- Marcus Ericsson (+1000) He’s been quietly good on ovals and starts 2nd. That’s noteworthy in the sense that 5 of the last 7 race winners on the season started 2nd. He has a good car and one that you’re getting +1000 odds on.
- Scott Dixon (+1000) He was 5th and 4th respectively at Iowa and enters with a ton of momentum overall. For these odds, worth some action his way.
Longer Shot Sleepers Worth Some Action
- Colton Herta (+1500) Had the car to win last year before breaking a drive shaft while pitting from the lead. While his starting spot is a hinderance, Honda’s were quick in final practice and with the threat of rain, worth a gamble here.
- Takuma Sato (+2000) A top 10 starting spot, a fast race car and a previous winner here with 5 straight top 10’s.
- Alexander Rossi (+3000) For the same reasons as Herta.
- Graham Rahal (+4500) He was fastest in final practice last night.
- Simon Pagenaud (+5000) The former Penske driver has 4 top 8 finishes in 6 tries including 3 of which being in the top 5.
- Devlin DeFrancesco (+15000) I’ve seen crazier things happen. The rookie driver was 10th and 11th in both practices and rolls off 10th today.
- Will Power (+300) This one scares me. Yes he’s on the pole. Yes he was fastest in practice on Friday. However, Power is 0-for-3 in races here for which he won the pole at. He’s also 0-for-3 on the season in races that he started on the pole. There’s not been a pole winner here since Helio Castroneves did it in 2003. For Iowa, a similar track, the pole winner is now 1-for-17. On the season, the pole winner is 1-for-14. He’s a better fantasy play as Power should at least score a podium. In 4 of the last 5 races on the season we witnessed the pole winner finish either 2nd or 3rd including both in Iowa. Last year’s pole winner finished 3rd here.
- Alex Palou (+1200) Yes he was 2nd and 5th in Friday’s practices and qualified 5th as well, but he also has 2 top 5 finishes in his last 10 starts on the season too and admitted all along short ovals don’t suit his style. Like Power, he’s a better fantasy play.