MADISON, Illinois – Verizon IndyCar Series teams will add a new element of competition to the race weekend at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline on Saturday, with the introduction of a pit stop competition on race day at Gateway Motorsports Park.
To allow crews time to perform simulated pit stops under race-like conditions, INDYCAR added pit stop practice sessions into the weekend schedule this season. For the first time, though, prizes will be awarded to the crew that performs the fastest pit stop during the session set for 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday at Gateway – just ahead of the 248-lap race on the 1.25-mile oval.
“This will showcase the extraordinary work INDYCAR teams do on pit road,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. “It also should be an exciting competition for the fans at Gateway Motorsports Park to watch during the 90 minutes leading up to Bommarito Automotive Group 500.”
As with previous pit stop practice sessions, the field will be split into two groups based on pit location. Each car is permitted to complete three “out and in” laps – leaving the pits, going around the track and then re-entering the pit lane without crossing the start/finish line on track. Crews can make a four-tire change each time the car reaches its pit box.
The winning crew, determined by the fastest car time clocked from pit in to pit out and including the four-tire change, will receive a trophy and other prizes and be recognized in pre-race ceremonies.
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois – just outside St. Louis – for the first time since 2003 this weekend. On-track action begins with a 60-minute practice at 5 p.m. ET Friday, followed by Verizon P1 Award qualifying at 7:30 p.m. and a final 60-minute practice at 10 p.m. All three sessions will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, with the NBCSN qualifying telecast airing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Live race coverage on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network begins at 9 p.m. Saturday. The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is the 15th of 17 races on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule and the last oval event of the season.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden is the championship leader but has four other drivers in hot pursuit, all within 42 points. The top 15 drivers in the standings are still mathematically alive in the chase for the championship.