Road America Weekend Schedule

The schedule with broadcast times. Reminder- all times are Eastern. If you are going to the race, times are an hour earlier. Saturday’s race is on NBCSN, the first race of the year on that channel. Sunday’s race is on NBC.

Qualifying will follow the format used for the Detroit races. Two groups get 30 minutes each. The fastest driver in each group gets a point and is guaranteed a front row start. the faster of the two is on the pole. the other cars line up behind the leader of their group.

Thursday is reserved solely for the Road to Indy. USF 2000 and IndyPro 2000 each have practice, qualifying, and two races.

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Road America Official Announcement on Fan Attendance

From Indycar:

If you are planning to attend Road America, there is some important information in this announcement.

INDYCAR to Welcome Fans
for July 9-12 Race Weekend at Road America

INDIANAPOLIS (June 25, 2020) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will welcome fans back to the track for the first time in 2020 on July 9-12 at Road America for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by American Medical Response doubleheader race weekend.

Under the guidance of public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal authorities, INDYCAR and Road America will observe safe social distancing practices and provide enhanced hygiene and safety precautions for all fans attending the event.

All guests will be screened in their vehicles with contactless temperature checks before entering the parking areas, and only essential racing personnel will have access to the INDYCAR paddock. A PPE kit that includes a face mask as well as hand sanitizer will be provided to each guest upon arrival to the track.

Fans are encouraged to practice safe social distancing and wear a cloth face-covering where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures will also be implemented throughout the facility during the weekend. Guests are encouraged to print their tickets at home to have a contactless experience at the gates and easier entry. Additional protocols and guidelines for spectators can be found at www.roadamerica.com/safety.

The race weekend will feature two full points races for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on back-to-back days – July 11 and 12 – as part of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR. The weekend schedule will also be bolstered by two junior development series of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000, and USF2000, of which many drivers of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES are graduates.

Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit www.roadamerica.com Tickets are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Print your tickets to save time and enjoy a contactless experience at the gates.

Phone: Call 800-365-RACE or 920-892-4576 between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday.

In-Person: Visit the Road America Ticket Office at the Road America Administration Building off of State Highway 67 (Gate 6) between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday.

Gates open at 7 a.m. and races run rain or shine. For more information, call 800-365-RACE (7223) or visit www.roadamerica.com

Anyone 16 years old and under is always FREE with a paying adult at the gate.

All active-duty first responders will receive FREE entry to the REV Group Grand Prix presented by American Medical Response weekend. First responders, including law enforcement, fire, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, will be admitted free of charge by showing valid identification indicating active service in the form of a department-issued ID, badge, copies of certifications or an active roster copy from their department on department letterhead. FREE admission must be redeemed at the gate and is only valid during the event weekend.

About INDYCAR:
INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from June to October, currently consists of 14 races in the United States and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, which is annually run in May, but rescheduled for August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

Indycar Officially Announces Richmond, Toronto Cancellations; Revised Schedule

From Indycar as I reported this morning:

2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

INDYCAR announces updated 2020 series schedule

INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2020) – An updated 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule was released today, displaying calendar adjustments implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway remains the season opener with a night race on the 1.5-mile oval Saturday, June 6. The next race on the INDYCAR calendar will be the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Saturday, July 4.

“Our teams and athletes are ready to get back on track and will deliver world-class action at Texas Motor Speedway and the Racing Capital of the World,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said. “We appreciate the opportunity to begin our season during these unprecedented times, and I’m confident we’ll put on a great show.”

The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America has been rescheduled from June 21 to July 11-12, becoming a double-header with championship points races Saturday and Sunday on the iconic, 4-mile road course.

Two events have been canceled for 2020 due to local restrictions surrounding the pandemic: the Indy Richmond 300 on Saturday, June 27 at Richmond Raceway and the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 12 on the streets of Toronto.

The season finale will be the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, Oct. 25, a new date recently announced after the originally scheduled season opener March 15 in St. Pete was postponed due to the global health crisis.

2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule

July Road America Double Header ?

The ever changing NTT Indycar Series calendar may be about to take another twist. there is heavy speculation that the REV Group Grand prix, originally scheduled for the weekend of June 20-22, will now take place July 10-12, the original date of the now postponed Toronto event.

The switch will mean two consecutive double headers, one on a road course and one on an oval. Iowa is the week following the new Road America date.

If Richmond takes place as scheduled, Indycar will run six races on four successive weekends. After a two week break, the series has four straight weekenddates in August.

I have a feeling this will not be the last schedule change.  I will have more, including the revised schedule, when the new Road America date is confirmed.

Road America: No Fans in May; Hopes to Admit Fans in June

In a press release from Road America this afternoon, the track announced its May event will proceed without fans. The facility plans to run its June events, including the Indycar REVGroup Grand Prix and is hopeful of allowing fans then. My interpretation of the statement is that they may limit the number of fans in attendance. Here is the complete statement:

ROAD AMERICA TO RUN MOTOAMERICA
SUPERBIKE WEEKEND WITHOUT FANS
Safer-At-Home Order in Wisconsin Means No Fans for May Event and Extra Weekend in June
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., May 12, 2020 – Road America announced today that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor of Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order being set to expire May 26 – that the racing portion of the May 29-31 weekend will continue, but without fans.
Although Road America and MotoAmerica worked diligently to find an alternative, the task proved impossible due to unknown restrictions on public outdoor events. MotoAmerica, however, is still planning to return June 26-28, along with all previously scheduled public outdoor activities, including Vintage MotoFest. The June 26-28 event will also feature the MotoAmerica Heritage Cup and the opening round of the Mini Cup by Motul.
“This event attracts competitors and fans, not only from the U.S. but around the world,” said Road America President and General Manager, Mike Kertscher. “As of today, we cannot predict when we will be at a point that our outdoor events meet the proper criteria for mass public outdoor gatherings in the state of Wisconsin. Make no mistake, we intend to come back stronger and ready to continue with our existing June events – including the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints, June 12-14, and the IndyCar REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR, June 18-21. We also anticipate by mid-June, there will be further transparency for hosting outdoor events, and we will be well within the final phase of allowing mass public gatherings to take place, which is a primary factor for why we added a weekend in June.”
Customers who have already purchased tickets, camping or other items, for the May 29-31 MotoAmerica Superbike Series weekend, are encouraged to hold onto those items for the June 26-28 MotoAmerica Superbike Series event weekend. 
Anyone who chooses to transfer their purchase to another event, may do so at this link: www.roadamerica.com/ticket-exchange
“We worked hard with Road America to try to make the original date work with fans, but after Governor Evers’ extended the safer-at-home order to May 26, we couldn’t make it work due to the unknown restrictions on public outdoor gatherings. But we still intend to run the event May 29-31, without fans and air it on Fox Sports and MotoAmerica Live+,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “This is not something we ever imagined, but then again we never thought we’d be faced with something like COVID-19. We will continue to work towards making the event special for everyone tuning into the broadcast and will keep everyone posted moving forward for the next event in June. In the meantime, we urge our fans, teams, and riders to continue to do the right things to keep them safe and healthy.”
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About Road America: Established in 1955, Road America is conveniently located between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The world’s best racers have competed at this legendary four-mile, 14-turn road circuit for over 60 years. Along with over 500 events held seasonally at the 640-acre facility, several major weekends are open to the public, which include the IndyCar Series, the MotoAmerica Series, three vintage racing events, numerous Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and NASCAR. Road America’s park-like grounds offer amazing viewing opportunities, numerous camping options, fantastic concessions, and high-speed excitement to hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Fans can also stay and play in cabins located conveniently on the grounds and find all sorts of souvenirs, collectibles, and apparel at the 7,500 sq. ft Paddock Shop. Affectionately known by many as America’s National Park of Speed, Road America can accommodate groups of all sizes including weddings and corporate events in the Tufte Conference Center. In addition to public race weekends, Road America offers a variety of group event programs including geocaching, disc golf, and off-road adventure tours, karting and the Road America Motorcycle and Driving Schools. For more information, visit www.roadamerica.com Follow Road America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube or call 800-365-7223
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Chevrolet – The Official Vehicle of Road America

Indycar Drivers’ European Vacations

Above: Pato O’Ward at Road America last week.

Indycar began a three week summer break after Road America last weekend. The Series returns to action in Toronto July 14.  What do drivers do in their weeks off?  They go to Europe. One may not return. It’s complicated, and we’ll discuss that last.

The week before the REV Group Grand Prix Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais went to Le Mans to participate in the 24 hour race for Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT teams. It was the last Le Mans for this car. Ford is shutting the GT program down. My hope is that they return in another class, preferably the prototypes.

This coming week (July already? Really/) Marcus Ericsson will participate in a Pirelli tire test in Austria on Tuesday.  Ericsson is still a reserve driver for Alfa Romeo. When the Indycar season ends he will spend more time at the remaining F1 races.

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Ericsson heading to Turn 14 at Road America

O’Ward Fills in for Banned Driver; Japan Next?

Pato O’Ward’s weird itinerant season continues. This weekend he is driving for MP Motorsport in Formula 2 in Austria. O’Ward replaces Mahaveer Raganathan, who accumulated enough penalty points to earn a one race suspension. Jordan King is O’Ward’s teammate this weekend. O’Ward qualified 17th Friday, one second off the pole speed and just 0.25 seconds slower than the more experienced King. It was O’Ward’s first time in this type of car, first time at this track, and of course first time on this particular tire.  Overall, he did a great job.

F2 runs two races this weekend, a race on Saturday which includes a pit stop, and a sprint race on Sunday.i am anxious to see how Pato does in the two events.

News from japan’s Super Formula that Dan Ticktum is losing his Red Bull backed ride has led to speculation that O’Ward will finish the season there. Nothing is confirmed. Ticktum has scored just 1 point this season. His teammmate has out performed him significantly.

Since O’Ward is under contract to Red Bull, he may complete his season there. That would be a big loss to Indycar, which thought they had a rising star. Considering Ticktum’s struggles, this may be a difficult situation for O’Ward. doesn’t work out, will there still be room for him back in Indycar? Let’s hope so.

I’ll be back next week with a look at another past Indianapolis 500 program.

 

Road America Postscript- Farewell to Speedville

The post Road America hangover is becoming as bad for me as the post 500 hangover. This is definitely my second favorite track after IMS.  I decided this in 2016 after about the first five minutes I was there. This year was the best year for me of the four Indycar events as experience goes for many reasons.

First, my friends Leigh and Bob were there for the first time.  They found some places I had never seen in turns 7 and 10. It was nice to see the track through fresh sets of eyes. We also had a great time visiting establishments in Elkhart Lake. I’m sure they will be back.

I also spent some time in the kink and I was impressed by the speed the cars carry before braking for Canada Corner.

The race behind Alexander Rossi was great. Third through sixth were contested all day. Dixon’s charge from the rear after the turn 5 incident was exciting to watch. His teammate Felix Rosenqvist had an excellent drive moving from 18th to 6th. Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe had steady drives and fought hard all day.

Colton Herta had an eventful day. After losing the lead to rossi in turn 3 of theopening lap, he had contact with both Power and Pagenaud in separate incidents and seemed to spend a lot of time off track in turn 5. Herta’s eighth place finish was his second best result of the season.

Rossi was probably not given any consideration for the drive of the day, but he should have been in the conversation. Winning margins like this don’t happen often in today’s NTT Indycar Series. His drive was a thing of beauty.

The crowd looked to me to be the biggest since 2016.  I thought the bowl at the bottom of turn 5 was fuller than it had been the last two years.

I’m about halfway through the NBC broadcast and i am very impressed. The cameras were on the Herta-Pagenaud skirmish all the way, including the point when Dixon blew past both of them. Great work.

So I will say good bye to Road America until next year and leave you with some photos.

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Rossi leads lap 1
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Marcus Ericsson finds his way back on track.
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Some of the big crowd in turn 5
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Power (l) tries to get around Herta, who did not give up spots asily.
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Rossi’s wondering, ” Where is everybody?”
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Pagenaud unsuccessfully tries to get by Herta. Seconds later Dixon blasts by both of them.

 

 

 

Quick Thoughts REV Group Grand Prix

That was quite a  bold move Alexander Rossi made  to take the lead over Colton Herta. Then an F 1 race broke out.

Rossi did what he needed to get done today- f inish ahead of Josef Newgarden and Cut into the lead as much as possible.. The gap is down to seven points.

Dixon is not quite out of the points race, but he is edging closer to waiting another year for title number 6.

There was great racing and action in position three through six most of the day.

Will Power and Newgarden knew they had nothing for Rossi.  Power said, “I never saw Rossi all day. A yellow or rain might have helped.”

Newgarden was satisfied that he got all he could out of the car and third was the best they could do.

Simon Pagenaud had an impressive drive finishing ninth after starting 16th.

Dixon made a great comeback for a top five after spinning on the opening lap.

Turn five was a very busy, action packed area today.

Santino Ferrucci finished a lap down, the third lap he hasn’t completed this season.

Rossi has now won the three crown jewels of Indycar circuits- Long Beach, Indianapolis, and Road America.

Look for my full report on Wildfire Sports tomorrow.  I will also have a  Road America postscript with photos in this space Tuesday. Thanks for following along this weekend.