IndyCar stars prepare for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500​

ST. LOUIS - From Tokyo to Tennessee, the Verizon IndyCar Series features drivers from all over the world. On Saturday night, they’ll converge on Gateway Motorsports Park for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

“I never had the chance to race there before so I’m excited to get that opportunity now." said driver James Hinchcliffe.

It might be Hinchcliffe’s first race at Gateway, but for some his competitor’s it’s a return to their racing roots.

“I grew up racing ovals. I actually raced at Gateway in Silver Crown cars back in the USAC days and Indy Lights." said driver Ed Carpenter.

“It’s very sentimental for me. I used to race 1999 for Hogan Racing which was based in the St. Louis area. I’m super excited. Can’t wait to be there. Hopefully the fans really support it because it’s going to be an awesome show.” added driver Helio Castroneves.

In 2003, Castroneves won the last open wheel race at Gateway. Sitting third in the season standings, the three-time Indy 500 winner appears primed to take home the checkered flag again Saturday night.

“My favorite barbeque joint in the country is Pappy’s Smokehouse.” said driver Charlie Kimball.

For Kimball, the Gateway to the West served as the Gateway to the East. He his now-wife were moving from California to Indianapolis when an online review led them to the Midtown mainstay.

“We devoured the ribs. Picked the bones clean,” added Kimball.

With another four hours on road to Indy, Kimball says unprovoked, the Pappy’s staff gave his dog a pork shoulder bone to chomp on for the rest of the ride.

They will always be my favorite barbecue joint not just for the food, but for the customer service as well.” added Kimball.

If you crave speed and excitement, broadcaster Rob Howden thinks fans with an appetite for race strategy will feast on the Bommarito 500.

“I think a track like Gateway, you’re going to see a lot of great drafting. You’re going to want to watch for some of those battles where drivers will start working on each other, start ducking to the inside a little bit trying to get the guy in front of them to make a mistake.” said Howden.

Speaking of mistakes, don’t make one by missing out on a chance to meet driver James Hinchcliffe. He’ll meet with fans and sign autographs Thursday from 1 pm to 2 pm at Bommarito Honda in Hazelwood.