An oval the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 hasn’t happened for at least seven years. Milwaukee traditionally followed Indianapolis on the schedule. One good thing all the schedule changes did was bring this bit of nostalgia. It’s not Milwaukee, but world Wide Technology Raceway, still called Gateway by many, has a double header this weekend.
It will be a different Gateway weekend in keeping with the adjustments 2020 has forced upon everyone. Both races will run in the daytime instead of at night as they have the last three years. The scheduled distance is 200 laps per race. The single race was 248 laps. Like Iowa, the racing should be different in the daytime from what it was like at night.
Gateway has hosted Indycar races since 1997, when CART ran a race the day before the Indianapolis 500 for three years. The last CART race was September of 2000, as CART teams decided they wanted to go back to Indianapolis. The IRL raced at Gateway from 2001-2003. Indycar returned in 2017.
There are some oddities in the history of the track and the series. Tony Kanaan is the only driver participating this weekend who has driven in every race here, regardless of which series sanctioned the event. No driver has won the race at Gateway more than once. The only times the pole winner won were in 2002, when Gil de Ferran took the checkered flag, and 2003, when Helio Castroneves pulled the double.
Six active drivers have finished in the top ten twice- Conor Daly, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato. Pagenaud has the best average finish of fourth.
The weekend schedule can be found here:
Coverage begins on NBCSN at 3 pm Eastern Saturday and Sunday
The winner of the Indianapolis 500 goes on a whirlwind media tour after the race and sometimes struggles the following weekend. Sato is the defending winner of this race. I look for him to be better on Sunday than he is on Saturday. It has been a while since the winner of the 500 won the next race.
More Success for Daly and Carlin?
This weekend marks the last two races for Conor Daly and Carlin Racing on the ovals. The results to date have been pretty decent. Daly won the pole for Race 1 at Iowa. He has scored a sixth at Texas, and an eighth in Iowa race 1. 72 of Daly’s 121 points have come in the Carlin entry. Daly also has earned a fifth place at gateway driving for Foyt Racing. I see daly as having another good weekend. in the St. Louis area.
After Honda’s domination at Indianapolis, Chevrolet looks to rebound. This is a strong track for the bow tie. Chevy powered cars had won three races in a row before Honda’s win last year. Chevy did win the pole in 2019 and Ed Carpenter came within 0,03 seconds of winning. Chevy should again have a strong performance at a track that has seemed to favor their engines.
Since Indycar’s return to Gateway, clean starts have been an issue. Last year there was an incident on lap 2 involving Marcus Ericsson. The previous two years, issues at the start caused yellows just after the green flag. Will a daytime race fix the problem?
Dixon’s Title March
Scott Dixon’s runner up finish last weekend in the Indianapolis 500 gives him an 84 point lead over Josef Newgarden. No one else is within 100 points of Dixon. A pair of good finishes this weekend could put the title virtually out of reach. Dixon won the first three races of the season and has two seconds and a fifth place as well. The second race at road america is his only finish outside the top ten this season.I don’t see Dixon losing ground here. he is having one of the strongest seasons we have seen from a driver in a while.
Kody Swanson, five time USAC Midget champion, will again drive for Legacy motorsport in the Indy Pro 2000 race at 1 pm Central time on Saturday. Swanson drove the car to victory in his debut at Lucas oil raceway on Carb Night. The deal was put together at the last minute, and the crew worked without pay to get the car ready. Sw2anson drove a great race after starting second. Once he got the lead he pulled away from the field. He is a driver that i hope gets a shot at Indycar in the next couple of years.
Mid Ohio will rune September 11-13 pending government approval. The track plans to allow 10,000 fans. The doubleheader was postponed from August 8 and 9. it will stay as a double header. I wonder if they have already sold more than 10,000 tickets. if so, how will they resolve the excess tickets?