Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden’s quest for an unprecedented sweep of multiple oval races in an INDYCAR SERIES season remained on track after practice Saturday evening for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline, but it was a costly session for a teammate and a rival.

Newgarden was fastest with a best lap of 180.040 mph in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet on the 1.25-mile oval. Track activity was delayed until the evening due to persistent morning and afternoon thunderstorms in the St. Louis area that forced a schedule shuffle.

SEE: Practice Results

“Most of the day was looking like we weren’t going to get out here, so just the fact we got a session, we certainly had a lot of time to try to achieve a lot,” Newgarden said. “I think we got there a little bit with the PPG car. I wasn’t super pleased, to be quite honest. I think we have some work to do.

“But that’s to be expected. You run practice, you try to figure out the weak points, and I think we have a couple that we need to work on. But we have a direction now, which is really good. I think our car can be really quick.”

NTT P1 Award qualifying was delayed until 11 a.m. ET Sunday, followed by the race at 3:30 p.m., as scheduled. Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network will cover qualifying live, with the 260-lap race being broadcast live on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Newgarden has won the last five oval races in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, a streak that started with this event last August. He has won this season at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and swept the doubleheader at Iowa Speedway. Only Sebastien Bourdais has won all the oval races in an INDYCAR SERIES season, but that came in 2006 when he won at Milwaukee, the only circle track on the Champ Car schedule that year.

Newgarden’s teammate Scott McLaughlin was second at 179.353 in the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet, but he also was part of an incident late in the one-hour session that caused heavy damage to the cars of teammate Will Power and Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing.

2019 WWTR race winner Takuma Sato was third at 179.206 in the No. 11 Deloitte Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing. 2018 WWTR race winner Power was fourth at 178.703 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet before the late accident. Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top five at 178.518 in the No. 6 onsemi Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Alex Palou, who leads the championship standings by 101 points over Scott Dixon, was 14th at 177.030 in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing. Palou needs to expand his lead to 109 points at this event to clinch his second championship in three years.

Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing crews will have extra work tonight and tomorrow after the late incident involving Power and Ericsson.

McLaughlin spun on the apron of Turn 2 on an out lap with about six minutes remaining, and Power moved high to avoid his teammate. Power’s car lost grip off line and pushed into the SAFER Barrier, bouncing back into the racing line in the path of Ericsson, who had no time to avoid heavy, nose-to-nose contact with Power’s car.

Power and Ericsson were unhurt.