A tight IndyCar championship battle got even tighter as Josef Newgarden won the rain-delayed Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) on Aug. 20.
With the win, Newgarden closed the gap to his Team Penske teammate, Will Power. Newgarden is now three points behind Power for IndyCar’s Astor Cup.
Power led for much of the first part of the race, but as rain started to sprinkle on the track, a caution flew, which changed the strategy for all of the top runners. Power and Patricio O’Ward were leading the race. O’Ward passed Power on the restart after a caution, and that began the downfall of the championship leader Power.
Newgarden gained some ground through the cars that were not on the lead lap and eventually took over the top spot from O’Ward and Power. But then the rain started coming harder and changed the game.
Normally, an IndyCar would be completely fine running in the rain but, with WWTR being an oval, IndyCar was forced to stop the race with under 50 laps to go.
Around two hours later, the race restarted (credit to IndyCar officials for sticking with it and giving the fans a full race). Right on the restart, Newgarden proved why he has won two oval track races on the season, as he powered around the outside to take the lead. Next, youngster David Malukas earned a few stripes as he absolutely powered his way through the field. 20-year-old Malukas continued to make up positions passing the likes of Power and O’Ward as he danced his way up to the top three.
Then, something even more shocking happened. Malukas caught Newgarden from over five seconds behind. He took the second spot on the podium and Newgarden grabbed the checkered flag.
What a championship battle we have in store. The top four drivers are separated by 17 points with two races remaining at Portland and Laguna Seca.