We as fans received the opportunity to watch INDYCAR in person. We got a weekend with two completely different races at the same racetrack. Worldwide Technology Raceway Park asked us to socially distance and to wear masks. I’ll say that as far as compliance goes, it was great. I’d put it at only 5% of fans who weren’t wearing masks in the large social areas. With the races, well for the first race there was a higher amount of noncompliance. Every year the Bommarito 500 gives a show, this year we got a show again.
The first race on Saturday phew. Just phew! We didn’t even get to the green flag before everything went sideways. It was a later start, and those in the back got impatient. Alex Palou popped out of line. Everyone started checking up around him, and Oliver Askew ran straight into the back of Simon Pagenaud. That spun Simon in Alexander Rossi. At the same time Zach Veach just plowed into his teammate Marco Andretti who was pushed back into Rossi. Somewhere Ed Carpenter ran over the back of Rossi also busting his car. Everything happened in front of our seats, and whoa the sights.
Once the race truly got started, there was some great action throughout the field. Jack Harvey passed both Josef Newgarden and Takuma Sato in one move. In approximately forty laps later, Rinus VeeKay passed both Simon Pagenaud and Santino Ferrucci in one move. I had the pleasure of sitting near his family for the entire race. Oh my goodness, they were the most excited people to watch. His father would lose it after every pit stop, and his mother kept hiding her face during pit stops. No wonder Rinus seems like such an enthusiastic soul – his parents completely are!
The end of the race gave a beautiful repeat duel between Scott Dixon and Sato, and Dixon holding off Sato by keeping the speed in corners. In my opinion though, the race belong to Patricio O’Ward. He led ninety-three laps, his pit crew challenged the wolf pack, and but for that very last pit stop he would have had the race. He got a third place, but should really be proud of that race.
For all the excitement of the first race, the second race was just disappointing. I’m an oval fan and a fan of racing on this track. After the first handful of laps it just fell flat. There was one yellow at the end of the race, and no penalties. From my notes, which were scribbled during the race, the last big position change was Lap 164 and nothing really after that. The leaders struggled with lap traffic. Unfortunately, the back markers were not that far off the leader’s pace so it made for a true struggle. Sato ended up hitting the wall with four laps to go, and the race ended under caution. Newgarden becomes the first driver in the contemporary INDYCAR to have two wins at this track.
I don’t know how you fix the issue with the second race. Worldwide Technology Raceway is a 1.25 mile track and uses the short oval package. Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile race and uses the super speedway package. In a later blog I’m going to break down these two packages. I think that is what got in the way of the second race. We had tires lasting forever which doesn’t help passing. Moving on to more positive things, the idea of keeping a double-header at WWT would be fantastic. Of course that would sacrifice the night time race at this track. Racing under the lights at WWT is magical. Perhaps a Friday night and Saturday night race?