Rossi’s Black Strategy Pays off with Road America Pole

It worked for Josef Newgarden last year at Road America, and it worked again for Alexander Rossi in 2022. Rossi ran the entire eight minbutes of the The Fast Six on sticker primary tires, and he becomes the eighth pole sitter in eight races this season.

Rossi’s pole winning lap of 1:44.8656 edged Newgarden by0.0715 seconds.

Rossi explained the tire choice in the post qualifying press conference.

“I think the Firestone blacks, the
primaries, were a pretty easy decision based on what Josef
did last year. I think you saw quite a few guys besides
myself on them as well.
It’s just with the nature of the track, it being so long, a new
black is usually a little bit better than a used red. That
being said it was still a lot of work to get it done. Happy we
were able to achieve it.”

Rossi backed up his second place finish at Detroit last weekend with two strong days in practice and qualifying. The last time Rossi started on the front row at road America, in 2019, he led flag to flag and won by 28 seconds. I’m not expecting that kind of blowout tomorrow, but Rossi does know how to control a race.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden looked to have the strongest car going into qualifying, but he chose to run used red s. It was an odd choice considering he used the black tires to win the pole last year.

Will Power, who won Detroit from 16th on the grid, will have to nearly duplicate that feat Sunday as he starts 15th.

The only incident came at the start of Round 2 when Callum Ilott locked up the reartires in turn 14 and slid off track. Ilott made the second round after sitting out last week with a hand injury.


The Fast Six had cars from what we can now call the Big Four- Team Penske, Arrow McLaren SP, and two cars each from Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport.

The last time eight different pole winners began the season? 1961. That year the first nine races had a different pole winner. No, I cannot name them.

Colton Herta had the fastest lap of the entire session, 1:44.4038 in Round 2.

A final 30 minute practice is scheduled for 4:20 pm. Rain is expected around 4:15.