SPOILER – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Race #1 Results – Dixon, Sato and O’Ward run up front again – SPOILER

By Steve Wittich .. Trackside Online

Here are my extremely, mistake laden rough race notes

With the threat of rain, the start of Saturday’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Presented by Valvoline and Axalta was moved up by 10-minutes. 

The National Anthem was sung by long-time St. Louis Blues Anthem singer Charles Glenn. 

Listening to O’Ward’s radio before engines were fired, and he was advised that the wind had changed direction since qualifying, and they advised him to move his rear bar to compensate. 

The call to start the twin-turbo V6 engines was given at 3:30pm by John Bommarito, president of the Bommarito Automotive Group. 

After some aggressive tire warming by most of the field, the front row of Power and O’Ward was paced for the first time by the brand new Honda Civic Type R. They two Chevrolet Indy V6 powered cars received the green flag the fourth time by the starter. 

The field got the green flag, but it quickly went yellow, when six cars were involved in a crash before they got to the start finish line. 

Palou jumped out on the start, behind him Pagenaud also jumped out of line, and he was immediately hit by Askew. That turned the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet into Rossi, who hit the inside pit wall. Behind that, Veach, Andretti and Carpenter all piled into the mess of cars. 

“I was driving straight. I don’t know what to say,”  is what Rossi said when asked by NBCSN’s Hinchcliffe about what happened and said it reminded him of an iRacing start at Michigan International Raceway. 

Veach said: “We just got out of 4, bottom lane checked up. I saw Pagenaud sideways. Everyone jammed on the brakes. We tried to stop the best we could. The window closed so quick that some of us were left without an option.”

The three Andretti Autosport cars of Rossi, Veach and Andretti were the first three cars retired from the race. The Ed Carpenter Racing crew took the No. 20 US Air Force Chevrolet back to the garage to work on it. 

The running order under yellow was: Power, O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Sato, Newgarden, Harvey, Hunter-Reay, Herta, Palou, Rosenqvist, VeeKay, Daly, Kimball, Ferucci, Rahal, Kanaan, Pagenaud, Askew, Rossi, Carpenter, Andretti and Veach. 

Dale Coyne told NBCSN that the start was too slow, and that Palou didn’t make any contact. 

When the pits opened, Askew, Kimball, Ferrucci, Kanaan, Rahal, and Pagenaud came to pit road. Pagenaud made multiple pit stops to fix what he was told was damage to the rear of the car. Listening on the radio, it seemed like he was having issues with seeing what gear he was in.  

Race control reviewed the start and penalized Palou and Askew for avoidable contact, sending them back to of the field. 

The green flag came out to start Lap 14. Harvey used the high lane early, getting by Sato and Ericsson to move up to fifth. 

After 20 laps, the top 10 were Power, O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Harvey, Newgarden, Herta, Sato, VeeKay and Daly. 

Tony Kanaan from 21st to 13th was the biggest early mover. 

At lap 25, Power’s lead over O’Ward was just over one-second, but the Aussie was quickly catching lapped traffic. 

As Power got to Pagenaud to lap him, his spotter warned him that Pagenaud was driving erratically in Turn 3 and Turn 4. Power lapped his teammate on Lap 33. Pagenaud came to pit road again on Lap 35. 

On Lap 36, one of the better battles on track was between Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dixon and Ericsson for third. 

Ericsson was told that the leader was backing up to him and keep doing what he was doing. 

As the cars began the second half of a tire stint, the tire fall off was approximately four mph. The fastest car on track at Lap 40 was Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was running laps in the 173mph range. He was putting pressure on Daly for the final spot in the top ten. 

On Lap 45, Power’s lead over O’Ward was 0.9 seconds, who had 0.7 over Dixon. The top nine were within five seconds of the leader. 

When asked how the car was, Power told the crew “pretty good – a little loose.” They told him to start thinking if he wanted a wing change. 

On Lap 50, Power’s lead had shrunk to 0.5 seconds and the top six were all within three seconds. 

On Lap 51, VeeKay and Rahal were the first drivers to make there first pit stops. The No. 15 United Rentals crew told Rahal to cut the power and they took the engine cover off. He was reporting shifting issue.  

Further back in the field, Herta, Daly, Sato, Hunter-Reay were all fighting for position while navigating lapped traffic. 

Just before the pit cycle began, on Lap 60, the top 10 were Power, O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Harvey, Newgarden, Herta, Daly and Sato. 

On Lap 60, Power tells the crew he is saying that he’s losing time in traffic. His lead over O’Ward was 0.9 seconds. 

On Lap 61, Newgarden came to pit road. On the next lap, O’Ward, Harvey and Daly came to pit road. 

On Lap 63, leader Power pits. He tells the crew that he doesn’t want any changes. 

That turned the lead over to Dixon. 

On Lap 65, Ericsson pitted from second and was joined by Palou. On the next lap, Dixon, Sato, Herta, Kanaan and Kimball come to pit road for the first time. 

Rosenqvist pitted from the lead on the next lap. That put Ferrucci and Askew 1-2 who pitted early under the first yellow. That pair pitted on Lap 69. 

The top 10 after the first pit cycle was O’Ward, who had a 2 second lead over Dixon, Power, Harvey, Newgarden, VeeKay, Ericsson, Herta, Daly and Hunter-Reay. 

O’Ward, out front was told to be patient with the lapped cars, as he was having issues putting Ferrucci a lap down. O’Ward got into the gray, but he was able to keep control of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. He lost one second in that exchange, with Dixon one second behind O’Ward on Lap 76. 

O’Wards strategist Taylor Kiel reminds him that Ferrucci has fresher tires and is on a different strategy and to keep doing what he is doing. 

By lap 80, O’Ward’s lead had grown back to 1.9 seconds over Dixon, and he had his teammate Askew running directly behind him, one lap down. 

Pagenaud, who was warned by race control that their speed wasn’t good enough became the fourth driver to retire from the race, when he asked to retire from the race. 

On Lap 90, O’Ward had a 1.5 second lead over Dixon, the rest of the top 10 were Power, Harvey, Newgarden, VeeKay, Herta, Daly, and Hunter-Reay. The top 16 cars were still on the lead lap. 

O’Ward was asked to pass the lapped cars in front of him, but if he couldn’t they asked him to save fuel. He was also reminded to remember his tools by engineer Will Anderson. 

On Lap 93, Dixon tells Mike Hull that Askew is starting to back them up. Hull tells him that Askew is running the same pace as O’Ward and they are trying to get him to save fuel. 

Hull tells Dixon that if he can get up on Askew, he can use more fuel. Dixon says that doesn’t think he has the grip. 

VeeKay is the first one to pit road to make his second stop on Lap 98. 

At the half-way point of the race, O’Ward’s lead is 2 seconds over Dixon. 

On Lap 101, Newgarden comes to pit road. On the next lap, Power has a quick pit stop. Chilton and Hunter-Reay also pit. 

On his radio, Dixon asks what they are up to. 

On lap 104, Harvey stops from fourth and has a quick pit stop. That left O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Herta, and Rosenqvist as the top five. 

On Lap 107, O’Ward is told that he has ten laps until he pits and is told to push.

On Lap 109, the caution comes out for the second time. This time it’s for a few sprinkles. 

On the radio, O’Ward doesn’t think they should make any changes, saying that the car is in the window. 

O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Herta, Rosenqvist, Sato, and Palou still needed to make there second pit stops. 

The running order under yellow was: O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Herta, Rosenqvist, Sato, Kanaan, Kimball, Palou, and Ferrucci – all on the lead lap. 

Askew was the first car a lap down and still needed to pit. Power was the first car a lap down, who had made his second stop. He was followed by Newgarden, VeeKay, Daly and Hunter Reay, who were all a lap down .

On the radio, under yellow, Dixon says he is struggling in Turn 3 and Turn 4. Hull tells him that 

On Lap 115, pit road opened with the drivers still needing to stop coming to pit road. 

O’Ward and the Arrow McLaren SP crew barely beats Dixon and the Chip Ganassi Racing crew off pit road

O’Ward was once again the leader. The drivers that were one lap down – Askew, Power, Newgarden, VeeKay, Harvey, Daly and Hunter-Reay – were given the wave around. 

The running order under yellow after the pit stops was: O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Rosenqvist, Herta, Sato, Kanaan, Kimball, Ferucci, Askew, Power, Palou, Newgarden, VeeKay, Hunter-Reay, Daly, and Harvey all on the lead lap. 

With the sprinkles coming to an end, the green flag came out with 78 laps remaining. 

O’Ward got a good jump on the restart. Rosenqvist in fourth, who had Herta on the outside of him, got loose and almost spun in front of the field. The Swede made a heroic save, but he fell down to ninth after gathering up the No. 10 Monster Energy Honda. 

On Lap 130, O’Ward’s lead over Dixon was 0.7 seconds. The distance between Dixon and his teammate Ericsson was equidistant. 

The two biggest movers at this point fo the race were Ferrucci (from 20th to 5th) and Kanaan (from 21st to 7th). 

Ferucci, had the quickest car on track, turning his quickest lap of the race on Lap 132 and putting pressure on Herta for fourth. 

On Lap 135, Power comes back to pit road for his final stop, but the crew isn’t sure that they can make it on fuel. The Aussie is not happy when he is told that they will need some yellow help. 

With 60 laps remaining, O’Ward’s lead over Dixon was 0.6 seconds. On lap 144, both drivers turn laps at 172.5mph. Behind the front two, Ericsson, was only 0.7 seconds behind his teammate. The top eight were all within five seconds of O’Ward. 

On Lap 149, Askew comes to pit road, he is joined by VeeKay on the next lap. 

With 50 laps remaining, O’Ward’s lead is just over 0.5 seconds. O’Ward tells the crew that the right rear is starting to struggle. They tell him the final pit stop is coming soon. 

On lap 151 Hunter-Reay, Harvey and Daly pit for the final time. 

On lap 155, Rosenqvist pits, on the next lap the other Swede, Ericsson pits. 

On Lap 157, O’Ward’s lead over Dixon is 0.7722 seconds. 

On Lap 158, Ferrucci and Herta are the next two drivers to make their final stop. That moved Sato to third and he immediately turns his quickest lap of the race, and is only 1.8 seconds behind O’Ward. 

Ferrucci’s stop is slow, as they had an issue on the right front tire. Ferrucci fell down to 17th. 

Ericsson and Herta, who had just pitted almost made contact. 

On Lap 163, O’Ward and Dixon both pit for the final time. 

That turned the lead over to Sato, who had just turned a lap at 176.963mph.

This time the Ganassi crew beat the Arrow McLaren SP crew with Dixon beating O’Ward out of the pits. 

Sato, Kimball, Palou, and Newgarden still had to stip. 

O’Ward’s crew tells him to keep the pressure on Dixon, and try and take advantge when the cars in front come to pit road. 

With 28 laps remaining, Palou comes to pit road and on the next stop, Kimball pits, leaving Sato and Newgarden as the last two cars needing to pit. 

With 25 laps remaining, Sato and O’Ward were the final two cars to pit. Sato’s stop was slow when they had an issue with the right rear. 

After the final stop, the running order was Dixon, O’Ward, Sato, Herta, Ericsson, VeeKay, Hunter-Reay, Rosenqvist, Kanaan, Power, Daly, Harvey, Newgarden, Kimball, Askew, Palou and Ferrucci.

On lap 180, Sato passes O’Ward around the outside to go to second place. 

He immediately takes off after Dixon, and with 15 laps left, the lead was down to 1.0 seconds. Dixon was able step on the gas, turning his quickest laps of the race. They were still slower than Sato though. 

With 13 left the gap was 0.7 seconds

With 12 left the gap was 0.5 seconds

With 11 left the gap was 0.5 seconds

With 10 left the gap was 0.3 seconds

With 9 left the gap was 0.6 seconds – he got balked by a car coming out of the pits

With 8 left the gap was 0.5 seconds

With 7 left the gap was 0.4 seconds

With 6 left the gap was 0.3 seconds

With 5 left the gap was 0.5 seconds

With 4 left the gap was 0.4 seconds

With 3 left the gap was 0.4 seconds

With 2 left the gap was 0.3 seconds. 

At the white flag the gap was 0.3 seconds

Behind the battle for the lead, O’Ward was 6.3 seconds back, and was facing pressure from Herta. 

Sato was right on the gear box of Dixon for the final two laps, but he was not able to get the pass made. 

The win is Dixon’s fourth of the season and the 50th of his career. He now trails Mario Andretti by only two wins for second all-time. It’s Dixon’s 122nd podium, leaving him 22 behind Andretti for best overall. 

It’s the fifth win of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing, and the 113th of all-time for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Presented by Valvoline and Axalta Race #1 unofficial results 

19Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda200 laps
230Takuma SatoRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda0.1404
35Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SPChevy7.0052
488Colton HertaAndretti Harding Steinbrenner AutosportHonda7.7019
58Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda8.3504
621Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevy12.4145
728Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda13.0556
810Felix RosenqvistChip Ganassi RacingHonda13.8107
914Tony KanaanAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy15.0319
1059Conor DalyCarlinChevy15.6721
1160Jack HarveyMeyer Shank RacingHonda16.2600
121Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevy16.8155
134Charlie KimballAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy21.4079
147Oliver AskewArrow McLaren SPChevy24.0143
1555Alex PalouDale Coyne Racing with Team GohHonda24.6954
1618Santino FerrucciDale Coyne Racing with Vasser SullivanHonda27.0938
1712Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy-2 LAPS
1815Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda-76 LAPS
1922Simon PagenaudTeam PenskeChevy-133 LAPS
2020Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy-197 LAPS
2126Zach VeachAndretti AutosportHonda-198 LAPS
2227Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda-200 LAPS
2398Marco AndrettiAndretti Herta with Marco & Curb-AgajanianHonda-200 LAPS