Track: World Wide Technology Raceway
Race: Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Race 1
Date: August 28, 2020
No. 1 Hitachi Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden
Laps Completed: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 2nd (-117)
- Josef Newgarden fell victim to a mid-race caution flag that cost the Hitachi driver to lose all of his track position, eventually leading to a 12th-place finish in the first race of a doubleheader weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday afternoon.
- Following a first-lap accident behind him, Newgarden lost several spots after getting caught in the middle of a three-wide situation on the track. However he quickly made those positions back up and slotted into sixth as the initial stages of the race played out. Once the first round of pit stops were complete, Newgarden cycled up to fifth and was quiet on the radio, signaling that the Hitachi Chevrolet was strong. As each subsequent run went on, Newgarden said the car was experiencing more understeer the longer it went.
- Things took a turn for the worse when, just past halfway, Newgarden and a few others elected to pit on their regular cycle. However, the Tennessee-native fell a lap down when a caution flag was thrown for reported light rain. The team lost all of its track position due to the caution and had to take the wave around when the race went back to green on lap 121.
- Newgarden rode around at the tail end of the lead lap hoping another caution would come out, allowing him to regain his track position back. However that caution never came, and once those in front of him pitted, Newgarden eventually had to make a stop as well, dropping him once again to the tail of the led lap. He would eventually finish the race in the 12th position.
Quote: "That was a frustrating race for the Hitachi team. That caution came out totally at the wrong time and we lost all of our track position and everything we’d worked for up to that point. The team had great stops and we gained some positions on each of our first two pit stops. I think without the caution, we would have cycled out in the right position and been up there in the top-three and got to battle it out. Instead, the caution ruined our day and we were just fighting from behind. The Hitachi car was good and Chevy brought some great power. Just nothing you can do when the caution falls. This just makes me more hungry to go out there tomorrow and win the race."
No. 12 Verizon Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power
Start: 1st (59th-career INDYCAR pole)
Laps Completed: 198/200
Laps Led: 61
Points Position: 9th (-196)
- Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon team was one of several teams that were severely impacted by a mid-race caution flag that cost them valuable track position, eventually leading to a 17th-place finish Saturday afternoon in the first race of the weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway.
- The day started out well for Power, who qualified first for the race and collected his 59th-career INDYCAR SERIES pole position along the way. Once the race started, Power jumped to the lead as chaos ensued behind him. Safely out front, he eventually took a commanding lead and led the first 61 laps of the race.
- Power slipped back to third following the first round of green flag pit stops, but still insisted the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet wasn’t bad. As he got behind cars and in more dirty air, he began to lobby for a front wing adjustment.
- Power continued to fight dirty air until coming into the pits from the third position just past halfway. However, caution for a light sprinkle trapped Power and the Verizon team down a lap and forced them to take the wave around, losing valuable track position. He restarted the race from the 14th position.
- The Verizon car then had to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 134 when the team indicated the right rear tire was losing air. The unscheduled stop dropped Power a lap down once again. Power would go on to finish 17th.
Quote: "That was not the race that Version, Chevrolet or my team deserved out there today. Our car was pretty good. It was really hard to get close to guys and hard to pass when you got around them. A lot of us were just running the same speed. So when it’s like that, it’s all about track position and we lost ours with that caution. The race was over after that. Then we had a tire go down and that was that. We just have to go back after it tomorrow at this point."
No. 22 Menards Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud
Laps Completed: 133/200
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th (-163)
- Simon Pagenaud and the Menards team had a race to forget on Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway, getting involved in an accident on the opening lap and eventually forced to retire from the event in the 19th position.
- On the opening lap of the 200-lap race, the field stacked up in front of Pagenaud. As he slowed down and took evasive action, the Frenchman was hit from behind and spun, collecting several other cars. He had to come in to change the front wing and assess other damage. After two pit stops and several repairs, he restarted 19th.
- The damage caused an extremely ill-handling Menards Chevrolet and he went a lap down on lap 33. A lap later, he came to the pits for a front wing adjustment to help the handling, but it didn’t alleviate the problems. Pagenaud continued to struggle mightily with the handling of the No. 22, resulting in several more pit stops.
- Eventually, the team elected to retire from the event due to the damage and the lack of speed. The No 22 Menards Chevrolet was credited with a 19th-place finish.
Quote: "Definitely not fun out there. I just feel sorry for Chevy and for Menards. I think we had a good car today and never even got a chance to really test it for tomorrow. That was a little too much excitement for the start of the race at the back. The front of the pack slowed down, I don’t know if it was the accordion affect or whatever that was. We had to pull out of line and all of a sudden someone hit us from behind. It is what it is, but it’s very unfortunate. You aren’t going to win the race in the first corner. People just need to be more patient. We’ll be back tomorrow."