The Old Guys Get it Done at Gateway

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If you had Takuma Sato, Ed Carpenter and Tony Kanaan finishing on the podium of Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway; I’d like for you to go with me to buy my next lottery ticket. The average age of Saturday night’s podium is 41.33 – this on a night when twenty year-old Santino Ferrucci got agonizingly close to his first IndyCar win.

Takuma Sato avenged the gremlins of the past week, when most of the IndyCar world blamed him for the opening-lap crash at Pocono, by winning a very interesting race. Right or wrong – most felt he initiated the frightening crash that eliminated himself and four other drivers. Josef Newgarden said it best in the post-race press conference, when he said that this is the way professional sports go – one week you’re a zero, the next week you’re a hero. He finished it up with saying that next week at Portland, he may end up being a zero again.

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When Sato came into the Media Center, he thanked all of the media for supporting him in the past week and sticking to facts. Regardless if you like Sato or not and regardless of who you think was at fault last week – Sato was a class act on Saturday night.

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He was pursued in the late stages of the race by Tony Kanaan. Up until the last few laps, it looked like Kanaan would finish second if he couldn’t pass Sato for the win. But his car got loose in the last few laps and he was passed for second by Ed Carpenter. Santino Ferrucci made an attempt tp pass Kanaan on the backstretch on the final lap, but Kanaan protected his line and held on for third.

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This was the best of the three races at Gateway since the NTT IndyCar Series returned in 2017. There was a lot of action from the very beginning and an extremely close finish at the line. For an added bonus, points leader Josef Newgarden spun coming to the line, but somehow was able to keep it off the wall and he crossed the line in seventh place.

It was another rough outing for Alexander Rossi, he pitted late and finished a lap down in thirteenth place. He dropped so far in the points race that he is now third, behind Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud and is forty-six points out of the championship lead. It was an even rougher night for Scot Dixon. he had engine trouble early on, but came back out to run several laps, but still finished twentieth. Dixon is now seventy points back.

There were a lot of big names at the bottom of the box score besides Dixon. Will Power crashed on Lap 52, shortly after pitting. He had been running in second place before crashing into the Turn Four wall. Susan and I happened to be standing there and got some photos of it.

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Sébastien Bourdais also crashed just a few laps after his pit stop on Lap 189, also coming out of Turn Four. I wasn’t there but Susan was and caught some more photos.

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I obviously don’t know what it looked like on television, but this was a much better race than the previous two we’ve been to at Gateway. Watching Santino Ferrucci was worth the trip to St. Louis all by itself. Ferrucci led ninety-seven laps in all, more than anyone else. I thought if he didn’t screw up or someone didn’t take him out, that Ferrucci would be celebrating his first IndyCar win. Neither happened. Instead, it was his team that did him on his last pit stop. It appeared very slow to watch as it unfolded. I don’t know how long it was, but it seemed like an hour. Ferrucci came back out behind his teammate and never led again.

Josef Newgarden had some strong words for Ferrucci in the post-race press conference and said Ferrucci needed to be taught a lesson after Ferrucci tried to pass Carpenter for third on the outside in Turn Two and almost stuffed it into the fence. Ferrucci was lucky to keep the car in one piece.

That will do it for tonight. Susan will have a post with tons of photos either Sunday or possibly Wednesday – but check back tomorrow. I will have my usual Random Thoughts article on Monday. Thanks to everyone for following along this weekend. Check back Sunday and then Monday.

George Phillips

7 Responses to “The Old Guys Get it Done at Gateway”

  1. Quite wonderful to have a well earned podium for TK and the Anthony Joseph Foyt team.

  2. Enjoyed the coverage and photos! Saw Susan during the broadcast on the pre-race show (I think).

  3. This is the first race in a long time where I would’ve been happy if any of the top three had won it. Not because they have been around so long. And not only because they’re nice guys. But because they have been such an important part of IndyCar racing.

    I would like to see Ed Carpenter win the 2020 Indy 500.

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