MADISON, Ill. (AP) — Josef Newgarden will be looking to make IndyCar history Sunday as he seeks his sixth consecutive win on an oval track at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
Newgarden is looking to become the second driver to win six straight races on oval tracks and the first since A.J. Foyt won seven straight races on ovals in 1964.
“I don’t really focus on it,” Newgarden said. “For me, a win is a win. They’re difficult to come by in IndyCar. It doesn’t matter where you are. If you’re here at World Wide technology Raceway, the Indy 500 or it’s Long Beach or St. Pete, it doesn’t matter. They’re all difficult to win races so you cherish each and every one of them."
Newgarden’s run on ovals dates to last year’s race at WorldWide Technology Raceway just east of St. Louis where he has won three consecutive races and four overall dating back to 2017.
Newgarden sits in third place in the IndyCar driver standings with 434 points, trailing Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon by four points and Alex Palou by 105 points.
Palou has a chance of being the first IndyCar driver to clinch the IndyCar Series championship before the final race since Sébastien Bourdais won the Champ Car World Series with one race remaining in 2007.
Qualifying will be held Sunday morning after rain delayed Saturday’s scheduled activities by several hours.
IndyCar drivers were not able to start practicing until almost six hours after qualifying was scheduled to begin and will be wrapping up qualifying fewer than four hours before Sunday’s race.
“IndyCar’s done a great job of just giving us the maximum amount of time,” Newgarden said. “I really assumed that we weren’t going to do anything today."
Newgarden turned in the fastest lap during Saturday’s practice at 180.040 mph.
Sunday’s race will be the first on an oval course to use the Firestone Firehawk alternate tires constructed with a softer compound to allow for more grip at the cost of quicker tire wear. All drivers will be required to start the race on the primary tires and run at least two laps on both sets of tires.
Connor Daly will be driving the No. 30 car for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team replacing Jack Harvey who was released from his contract after the Gallagher Grand Prix. This will be Daly’s fourth IndyCar race since being released by Jack Harvey Racing after the Detroit Grand Prix.
“I just hope that there are still people that you try to reinforce the belief in me I guess," Daly said. “I’m still the same driver and I know what I can do in this situation that this Rahal or any team has given me. We go out there and if the car’s fast, I’ll drive it fast. For me, that’s all you can ask for as a driver is a chance to go out there and perform.”
Daly started three races for Meyer Shank racing filling in for Simon Pagenaud who suffered a concussion during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 1.
Five cars will be penalized for unapproved engine changes following the Gallagher Grand Prix on Aug. 12 in Indianapolis. Power and Takuma Sato of Chip Ganassi Racingas well as Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustín Canapino will all be assessed a nine position starting grid penalty.
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