Inaugural Bommarito Automotive Group 500 winner talks about
the incredible energy at World Wide Technology Raceway
August 15, 2019, St. Louis Region – Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden won the inaugural Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline INDYCAR race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, in 2017 with a memorable late-race pass on teammate Simon Pagenaud. In his own words, Newgarden discusses what makes the NTT IndyCar Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway so special.
“It starts with the atmosphere of the crowd. The track and the Bommarito Automotive Group have done a fantastic job of bringing in the crowd from the Midwest,” said Newgarden. “You feel the energy of it. That’s due to the great promotion done in advance of the race that helps fill the grandstands.
“I remember that first race back in ’17, it was just an incredible energy – one that you really didn’t feel outside probably the Indy 500. When it feels like a big deal, it is a big deal.
“The track itself is very exhilarating to drive, especially at night. It’s a new surface, very fast, high cornering speeds, very intense. I like that, in 2018, we got the car to a place where there was pretty high tire deg (degradation), you could make a lot of passes, you really had to drive the car the second half of the stint compared to the first. That ability to make passes late and to have to look after your race car – and doing it in front of a big, energetic crowd – that’s to me why the event is special.
“It’s a hard track to get the setup right. The differences in the size of the corners makes it a little harder than a place like Iowa Speedway, the other short oval on our schedule. WWTR is very different from a balance perspective because one end of the track is very tight and one is very wide. You’ve just got to prioritize what’s more important and find a compromise in the setup; build a car that has good adjustability.”
The annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline brings the cars and international racing stars of the Indianapolis 500 to the St. Louis-Metro East region. Tickets start at just $40 for adults and kids 15 and under are free. Race day also includes races for Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West cars – not to mention fireworks and a pre-race show. To purchase tickets or obtain more information about WWTR, please call (618) 215-8888. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
Thursday, August 22 – Free fanfest at Ballpark Village; Racing Night at Busch Stadium
4:30-6:30 p.m. – Free fanfest at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis across from Busch Stadium. Meet-and-greet with INDYCAR Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and NASCAR K&N Pro Series drivers, show cars, games, prizes.
Fanfest driver autograph sessions:
4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West drivers.
5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. — Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 drivers.
5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. — NTT IndyCar Series drivers.
6:45 p.m. – Racing Night at Busch Stadium – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies. Josef Newgarden, 2017 INDYCAR champion, will throw out the first pitch at 6 p.m. Fans who purchase their game tickets at www.Cardinals.com/theme will receive a Harrison Bader race car bobblehead.
Friday, August 23 – Coors Light Pole Night Showdown
10 a.m. — Parking lots open.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. — James Hinchcliffe Red Cross Blood Drive (drag strip tower).
11:30 a.m. — Spectator gates open; Paddock pass upgrades open.
1-2 p.m. — NTT IndyCar Series practice.
2:15-2:45 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000 practice.
3-3:45 p.m. — Indy Lights practice.
4-5 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry exhibition.
5:15-6:15 p.m. — Coors Light Pole Night NTT IndyCar Series qualifying.
6:30-7:15 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000 qualifying.
7:30-8 p.m. — Indy Lights qualifying.
8:15-9:15 p.m. – NTT IndyCar Series final practice.
10:30 p.m. – Track closed.
Saturday, August 24 – Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline race day
10 a.m. — Parking lots open.
11:30 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry exhibition.
12:45-2:15 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry Open Wheel Icons garage party and autograph session.
12:30-1:30 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West qualifying.
1:45 p.m. — Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires (55 laps).
2-6 p.m. — Rumble Before the Roar pre-race party.
2 p.m. — NTT IndyCar Series paddock opens.
2:40 p.m. — Vintage Indy Registry final exhibition.
3-4 p.m. — NTT IndyCar Series driver autograph session.
3:25 p.m. — Indy Lights race (75 laps).
4:35 p.m. — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West Monaco 125 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
5:15 p.m. — Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 driver autograph session at the INDYCAR Fan Village.
6:15 p.m. — Parade laps.
6:30 p.m. — Bommarito Automotive Group 500 pre-race show.
7 p.m. — NTT IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline.
World Wide Technology Raceway is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. World Wide Technology Raceway’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, recently-expanded 2.0-mile road course, a state-of-the-art karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue. World Wide Technology Raceway was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Facility of the Year Award from the Race Track Business Conference and the 2017 Spirit of St. Louis Award from St. Louis Attractions Association. In 2018, owner and CEO Curtis Francois received the Innovator Award from the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission in recognition of his work for restoring World Wide Technology Raceway (known then as Gateway Motorsports Park) to prominence.