Race Preview: World Wide Technology Raceway



Posted on 08/24/2023

Race Preview: World Wide Technology Raceway

Next up for Chip Ganassi Racing in their quest for a 15th INDYCAR title is the Gateway to the West, as the team embarks upon a decisive three-race stretch to complete the 2023 season.

Alex Palou and the No. 10 American Legion Honda team are in an advantageous position atop the points standings with a 101-point lead. Palou will be pursuing a race win at World Wide Technology Raceway that would clinch the championship and bring home the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge.

Scott Dixon is in hot pursuit of a seventh INDYCAR championship fresh off a milestone weekend where he took the victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Dixon, who sits second in the points standings, will be looking for his second career victory at Gateway (2020 Race 1).

Last year, Chip Ganassi Racing showcased impressive speed on the short oval, with three of their cars starting the race from the top three rows (Ericsson in P2; Palou in P5; Dixon in P6).

Be sure to mark your calendars and tune into the final two days of oval racing on the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar. NBC’s broadcast of the 260-lap race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 27.

Alex Palou - No. 10 American Legion Honda

"We had a very strong race at Gateway last year and had three cars qualify in the top-six. We expect to have a strong performance again this year. We have the opportunity to win the PeopleReady Force for Good $1 million dollar challenge. It will be tough, but getting the win would be amazing for The American Legion and would help save veteran lives. It would also be my first win on an oval and could perhaps clinch the championship, as well. We're focused on continuing the form that we've had so far, as the No. 10 team has had two podiums on ovals this year with Texas and Iowa. I saw that this is the only track on the calendar where we haven't had a podium, so this will be a good opportunity ahead of us."

Palou, seeking out his second career INDYCAR championship (2021), has remarkably stood on the podium at every single racetrack on the current series calendar aside from Gateway.

Gateway could be his next podium stop, as he's already produced top-three finishes in two of the four oval races this year (Texas; Iowa Race 2). Palou’s average finishing position of 4.5 on ovals this season ranks second among all drivers (Newgarden: 1.0).

The Spaniard is looking to become the fifth driver in the history of the sport to win multiple championships at 26-or-younger (Sebastien Bourdais; Sam Hornish Jr.; A.J. Foyt; Louis Meyer). 

Scott Dixon - No. 9 PNC Bank Honda 

"St. Louis is a fun track and it is very challenging to get turns one, two, three and four right. Last year's race was really cool with how the high line came in. I think they focused a fair bit on using that practice session to get it to come in and then for the last couple of restarts that definitely played true. I'm looking forward to it and hope that we can have even better cars this year."

Dixon will look to continue his winning ways at Gateway and lead a championship charge of his own. He has previously produced a championship season despite not sitting atop the points standings until the conclusion of the season-ending race (2015). 

The six-time champion won at Gateway in 2020 (Race 1) with a margin of victory of just 0.1404 seconds ahead of his now-teammate Takuma Sato. Dixon secured the lead on lap 176 and held on to take the checkered flag after 200 laps of racing. He has also registered two other podium appearances at the track, obtaining a P2 result in 2017 and a P3 finish in 2018.

No driver has posted a better average qualifying result on ovals this season than Dixon (5.25).

Marcus Ericsson - No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda

"Last oval on the year and I am really looking forward to it. We had a strong car and a strong performance at Gateway last year even though the result in the end wasn't as good as I think we deserved. We qualified on the front row and overall, I have good memories at the track. I really enjoy driving it and it's a fun atmosphere with plenty of fans."

Ericsson held the provisional pole at Gateway last season before the No. 12 eclipsed his two-lap time of 49.4316 on the last run of the session. With Chip Ganassi Racing, he's consistently qualified well at the track, starting in the first three rows in three of his four races.

He will look to continue his streak of consistency, having secured a top-10 finish in 12 of his 14 starts this season. 

Takuma Sato - No. 11 Deloitte Honda

"The time has passed so quickly and it's already my final race of the season. But once again, I am really excited to drive No. 11 Deloitte Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing. Gateway is such a unique short oval with two very different characteristics between the north and south turns. Turns one and two feature high banking but with a tight radius that you need to use your brakes even in qualifying. Turns three and four are more flat with much less banking but longer radius and almost flat in qualifying, so the car feels quite different and it's very challenging. Minimizing the balance shift between those two is key for this short oval. The CGR team has been strong here and I have great memories, too, so it's kind of a special track for me. The weather will be really hot until Saturday where it looks like it will cool off a bit on Sunday. Hopefully, it will be more comfortable for fans and the drivers on race day. I’m looking forward to having an exciting and strong weekend.”

Takuma Sato returns to CGR’s No. 11 Deloitte Honda, where he will look to capture a second career victory at World Wide Technology Raceway. Sato won at the track in 2019 in what remains the closest margin of victory in track history (0.0399) after leading 61 laps in the race.

Sato has been very strong at Gateway, leading laps in five of his seven starts at the track, amounting to 167 total laps led.