Today’s question: Who will win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 this Saturday night, Aug. 21 on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval? (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN)?
Curt Cavin: This is a difficult one, and I think it comes down to three drivers: Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Pato O’Ward. Pressed to choose one, I’ll go with O’Ward. He has finished second and third in his previous two starts at the track and drives with the aggression it takes to win on a short oval. But it also won’t surprise me if Power gets on a roll and wins three of the final five races. When he’s locked in, look out.
Zach Horrall: I’m going to say this is the summer of Team Penske and that Simon Pagenaud gets his first win of the season Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway. He is one of just three drivers this season to finish in the top 10 in all three oval races thus far, alongside O’Ward and Alex Palou. He finished 10th at Texas-1, sixth at Texas-2 and third in the Indianapolis 500. That’s an average finish of 6.3 on ovals. Plus, his most recent win was an oval: the first of a doubleheader weekend at Iowa in 2020. He’s now one of just two drivers in the top 10 in the championship standings who hasn’t won a race this season. There’s no better time than the present to end that.
Paul Kelly: I like this – three roundtable participants, with three different selections, as I’m picking Scott Dixon to win this Saturday night in the shadow of the Gateway Arch. I don’t think this race is Dixon’s last stand in the championship race, as he’s only 34 points out of the lead with four races remaining. But Dixon has far more oval racing experience and success than the two drivers ahead of him in the standings, leader and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP. It’s a great opportunity for him to gain ground and enter the three-race West Coast swing with momentum as he tries to win his record-tying seventh title. Plus, have we already forgotten that The Iceman earned his only victory of 2021 so far on an oval, crushing the field in the first race at Texas Motor Speedway, and that he won one of the two races in 2020 on the 1.25-mile oval that’s just a hop, skip and jump over the Mississippi River from St. Louis?