Verizon INDYCAR Series
Due to rain, qualifying for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 was cancelled and starting positions for the 248-lap race were determined by championship points.
CHASING THE CHECKERS.
In a daring strategy attempt, Alexander Rossi nursed his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda home in second place Saturday for his eighth podium finish of 2018. The five-time IndyCar race winner completed the race in one less pit stop – as he did in winning the 2016 Indy 500 and four weeks ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Rossi now sits just 26 points behind leader Scott Dixon with two races – and double points in Sonoma – remaining. The results of Rossi and Dixon (who finished second) earned Honda more than enough points to clinch the Engine Manufacturers Championship with two races remaing.
Continuing a late season surge, Rookie Zach Veach impressed yet again Saturday racing his way to a career best oval finish of fifth. Starting 16th, Veach was immediately on the charge and worked his way up to 10th in the opening laps before collecting a fourth-consecutive top-10 finish and second career top five. Veach sits second in the Rookie of the Year standings.
With the No. 98 dressed in MilitaryToMotorsports.com colors, Marco Andretti started from the 10th position and gained four spots on the opening lap. Andretti continued to run in the top-10 until the team was caught out on fuel strategy by an untimely yellow. Despite having quick speeds, the loss in strategy forced Andretti to settle with a 14th-place finish.
The biggest disappointment of the night came for 2012 Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay who was running in third with eyes on the podium before falling victim to mechanical issues, parking the No. 28 after 172 laps. At 147 points behind Dixon, Hunter-Reay is fifth in the standings and the lowest driver on the charts maintaining a mathematical chance to win the championship.
The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads west for the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 2, marking Indy car racing’s return to Portland International Raceway for the first time since 2007. The race airs live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Keep up to speed between the checkers and the greens with AndrettiAutosport.com and via our suite of social media channels.
IN THEIR WORDS.
No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA
“Every weekend we just have to try and beat Scott [Dixon]. Will [Power] was amazing today, so congrats to him. I’m a little lost for words, I’m not sure how we made that happen today – that’s unbelievable. I wasn’t full throttle at all for the last 70 laps. It was a huge ask when Rob [Edwards, Strategist] came over the radio and told me the fuel number. I was like ‘Here we go again.’ I couldn’t have done it without a great NAPA Andretti Honda. I don’t know that we had enough for Will, even if it was a flat out race to the finish. But the important thing is we beat Scott and closed the [points] gap a little bit.”
No. 26 GROUP 1001 HONDA
“I really wish we could go back to St. Petersburg right now and start this season over. I’ve got to give credit to my Group 1001 guys and, of course, my Andretti Autosport teammates. Those guys have helped me so much this year, just teaching me little by little. It’s finally starting to come together and I’m just so thankful for that.”
No. 98 MILITARYTOMOTOSPORTS.COM / CURB HONDA
“It was a bad luck night for the 98. The guys gave me a good car and we were running right with [Zach] Veach, but we got caught out by the second yellow and that threw off our strategy. We were hoping for more, but on to Portland with the MilitaryToMotorsports.com car.”
No. 28 DHL HONDA
“Really bummed to end the race from the garages. We had a problem with fuel pressure – the car just shut off on the front straight and we weren’t able to recover. It’s a shame because we were really making the 28 DHL Honda fly. The track just kept getting more and more grip and we were able to get more aggressive. We were just getting into the mix, the car was coming to us. We were going to fight Will [Power] for the win at the end.”
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series
CHASING THE CHECKERS.
The grid was set after Saturday morning’s qualifying session and it was an Andretti front row for the 75-lap race with Colton Herta and Ryan Norman starting first and second, respectively. Championship points leader Patricio O’Ward would see the green flag from third and Dalton Kellett took the start from fifth.
Having finished second in both practice and qualifying, Norman was hungry for a win. Putting the pressure on Herta the entire race, Norman was able to put the pieces together and passed Herta on the outside on Lap 69 to take the lead. Norman led the remaining six laps of the race and collected his first Indy Lights career victory. Starting from the pole position, Herta was hoping to capture his fifth win of the season and shorten the points gap between him and teammate O’Ward. Herta had a strong start and would lead 69 of the 75 laps before being passed by teammate Norman. Unable to regain his position, Herta finished the day second and collected his twelfth podium of the season.
Starting on the inside of Row 2, O’Ward had his sights set on capturing his third win in a row. Unfortunately, O’Ward fell back to sixth at the start of the race and would have to work his way back up the field. O’Ward ran as high as P3 but couldn’t close the gap between him and Norman and would see the checkered from third. Making his 50th start in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series, Kellett suffered from shifting issues which led to inconsistencies throughout the race. Kellett fell to the back of the field and would finish the race a lap down.
The stable of four heads to the West Coast this week for their last two rounds of Indy Lights competition at Portland International Raceway. The team will take to the track Friday morning for the only practice session of the double-header weekend. With the conclusion of the weekend, a new Indy Lights champion will be crowned.
Keep up to speed with Indy Lights competition on the Road to Indy Tv app or on racecontrol.indycar.com.
IN THEIR WORDS.
No. 48 JOURNEY MAZDA
|No. 98 ANDRETTI-STEINBRENNER RACING / CURB MAZDA|
“I think even with a good car, it would’ve been really hard to hold Ryan off. He was really strong where he needed to be. We were flat in Turns 3 and 4 so it was all about Turns 1 and 2, and he was coming out of those turns really well even when he was behind me, and that’s what made the difference and what allowed him to get around me. I’m happy with the result but a little disappointed. I wish the race would’ve ended 10 laps earlier because then it would’ve been a lot easier on me. Good job to Ryan though, he did a great job today and it was an exciting race for sure. It was shaping up to be a pretty boring race so I’m glad we were able to make it more exciting for the fans.”
“I feel good about how the race went considering I fell back to sixth in the beginning. When I was running sixth, I just knew I didn’t want to finish from back there, so I knew I needed to pass as many cars as I could. I made my way back up to third, but by that time, Ryan and Colton were already pretty far ahead, so I just focused on not making any mistakes. I didn’t want to put the car in danger, so I just ran the race and waited for a yellow flag, but it didn’t come out. I’m satisfied with a third-place finish. I think we have a 26-point lead going into Portland, so I’m looking forward to redeeming myself there and ending the season with a couple wins to solidify the championship.”
“It was definitely a very frustrating afternoon. I obviously don’t want to see the No. 28 K-Line car do that poorly on an oval. The team worked really hard, but we were working through some AER issues with the shifting which was a problem for us all weekend. For the most part, there was some freeness in Turn 2 and waiting on those down shifts made us inconsistent. Once we lost the draft, it was difficult to stick with the rest of the pack. I’m frustrated but I think we can recuperate with a good result for the end of the season at Portland. We’re not in the championship but we want to get the best result we can- that’s all we’re thinking about.”