MADISON, Ill. — Josef Newgarden was able to cut into the enormous lead of Scott Dixon in the NTT IndyCar Series championship standings with his second win of the year at the World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.
Newgarden held off the charging rookie Pato O’Ward in the closing laps, and secured the win when a late caution with four laps to go brought out by Takuma Sato forced the race to end under caution.
“This is all a pit stop victory for us,” Newgarden said after the race. “This crew has been awesome all season. It was all down to my team. They won the race. I didn’t win it, they won it.”
The win is huge for Newgarden’s campaign in the championship standings. Heading into the race, Newgarden trailed Saturday’s winner, Scott Dixon, by 117 points. That gap was closed to within 100 points on Sunday with Dixon finishing fifth.
“Yesterday was a pretty big blow,” said Newgarden, who finished 12th on Saturday. “We’ve been bitten by a lot of bad luck. But, that’s racing so maybe this will be a good charge for the rest of the season for us.”
Newgarden is also the first two-time winner at the track in IndyCar’s short history there.
A second-place finish for O’Ward is his second podium finish in a row, again having competed for the lead all day long like in Race 1 the day before.
“We had a great weekend,” said O’Ward. “Our goal was to try and score two podiums and we did. We were super, super competitive. We’re knocking on the door, but we’ll keep pushing.”
O’Ward finished third on Saturday. Newgarden’s teammate Will Power rounded out the podium in third after finishing 17th the day before.
The race was also presumably the last race of Tony Kanaan’s career. Kanaan announced before the start of the season that this would be is his last season in the NTT IndyCar Series in a deal with AJ Foyt Enterprises to run only the oval races.
The Bommarito doubleheader at World Wide Technology Raceway is the last oval race on the ever-evolving 2020 schedule.
If this was Kanaan’s last IndyCar race, he finishes his career with 17 wins in over 380 starts. He was the 2004 IndyCar Series champion and won the Indianapolis 500 in 2013.
It’s all road courses from here on out with six races left in the season. As it stands now, the series will head next to back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Harvest Grand Prix on the IMS road course in October.
However, IndyCar president Jay Frye alluded before the race on Sunday that they are “80-to-90-percent” sure they are close to securing a new date for a doubleheader race at Mid-Ohio in the coming weeks.