Road America Wrap Up

Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

A couple of days late with this, but sometimes life gets in the way. Road America never disappoints for atmosphere, beauty, or racing. The trip there always seems like going to another Indianapolis 500 just a few weeks later. One visit a year doesn’t seem like enough. One day I will have to work the Road America IMSA race into my schedule.

A few more thoughts on the 2022 Sonsio Grand Prix:

Veekay’s Summer Fade 2.0?

In 2021, Rinus Veekay was involved in a bicycle accident which kept him out of the Road America event. When he returned, he didn’t seem to have quite the form he showed earlier in the season. This year, he is again on a downward trend which started with the GMR Grand Prix.

The first four races this season- finishes of 6th, 10th, 13th, and 3rd with one pole. Average finish 8th. 7th in points after Barber.

Races 5-8- finishes of 23rd, 33rd, 16th, and 17th. Average finish 22.2. Currently 14th in points.

I hope VeeKay can turn it around in the second half of the season.

AMSP’s RA Power Shortage

When Pato O’Ward’s car lost power on lap 46 Sunday, it was the second time in two years at Road America that the team had a power failure. In 2021 Kevin Magnussen’s car stopped on lap 33. Their second car finished ninth last year and sixth this year. I’m just pointing out an odd coincidence here.

Indycar Feuds?

Will Power was extremely angry with Devlin DeFrancesco after Sunday’s race. DeFrancesco bumped Power going into turn 5, spinning the then points leader and ruining his chance to extend his lead. Power retaliated after the race by running into DeFrancesco on the cool down lap.

I hope this disagreement is settled off track. Indycar is heading to some tracks where retaliation is dangerous/

Conor Daly also mentioned being angry with certain unnamed drivers. His anger is usually directed toward Santino Ferrucci, who wasn’t driving Sunday.

Indycar feuds don’t usually last too long. The long break between race may cool things off on its own.

Indycar racing has been really good this season. At Mid ohio the series has a chance to tie a 190 mark with nine different pole winners to begin a season. Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou are still looking for their first pole this year. Just saying.

Stay cool and hydrated during this very hot weather.

Quick Thoughts-Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America

Andretti Autosport is back. With finishes of third, fourth, and fifth today, the team is beginning to regain its form at the front. Alexander Rossi now has two straight podiums and a pole.

Josef Newgarden got rid of a lot of frustrastion today. Newgarden wasn’t happy at Detroit not winning the race after winning the pole. His frustration mounted when rossi edged him yesterday for the pole.

Is Rossi making a lateral move for 2023? Once again today, slow fueling cost him the lead on the first pit stop. He never regained the lead. His new team, Arrow McLaren SP continued their pit stop issues today with some slow fueling.

Rhahal Letterman Lanigan racing had their best day in quite some time. Graham Rahal finished eighth, Christian Lundgaard was 10th, and Jack Harvey was 13th.

Newgarden is the only driver with multiple wins in 2022.

Simona DeSilvestro finished 21st in her season debut, and on the lead lap. It was a fine start for Paretta Autosport.

Marcus Ericsson is beginning to do championship things. He had a third secured, bit got to second and now leads the title fight by 27 points. It is at least the sixth time the leader has changed after a race this year.

Callum Ilott finally had a decent race and fiished 11th. It was nice to see him run without issues today.

The hill in turn 5
Bottom of turn 5

Today’s crowd had to be one of the biggest I’ve seen since Indycar returned in 2016.

Turn 5 saw lots of passing action and a couple of mishaps today, including Alex Palou going off track and Will Power’s spin.

Palou gets out of his car

I will have a full wrap up tomorrow. Thanks for following along this weekend. The next race isn’t for three weeks. Enjoy the break.

Race Day at Road America

Today’s schedule: All Times Central

June 12, 2022
7:00 a.m. Gates Open
8:25 a.m. Indy Pro 2000 R#2
9:40 a.m. GF INDY LIGHTS Race Peacock
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Family Fun Zone Hours
2:15 p.m. RADICAL CUP R#3
3:20 p.m. Vintage Indy Registry

Tire choices:

Colton Herta will serve a six place grid penalty for an unapproved engine change.

It appears Will Power wil try to use the same strategy he used in Detroit last week. I’m not sure that will work on a longer track without a yellow period.

Race time temperature is expected to be 64 degrees and only moving up to 65 by race end.

Alex Palou was fastest in the final warmup yesterday afternoon.

We could see the points leader change again today. Power has a lkead of just three over Marcus Ericsson and just 14 over Alex Palou in fourth.

Alexander Rossi hopes to convert his pole spot into his first win in three years today. His last win came at Road America in 2019.

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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.

O’Ward Fastest in Morning Practice

Pato O’Ward led the pre qualifying practice with a time of 1:45.268. Will Power held the lead before O’Ward’s hot lap and he finished just behind the leader with a 1:45.3849 lap. Alex Palou was third and Alexander Rossi fourth.

Qualifying for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America begins at 12:45 Central time.

I arrived at the track about 10 minutes into the practice session and immediately headed to turn 5. New this year at Road America are placards with the turn number and a QR code to bring upo a track map.

Simona DeSilvestro turned her first laps in an Indycar since rthe 2021 Indianapolis 500 yesterday. As expected the team is till seeking some speed.

Qualifying Groups

Group 1

Will Power

Alexander Rossi

Colton Herta

Romain Grosjean

Scott Dixon

Christian Lundgaard

Simon Pagenaud

Callum Ilott

Devlin DeFrancesco

Rinus VeeKay

\akuma Sato

Dalton Kellett

Tatiana Calderon

Group 2

Pato O’Ward

Alex Palou

Josef Newgarden

Marcus Ericsson

Scott McLaughlin

Felix Rosenqvist

Helio Castroneves

David Malukas

Conor Daly

Graham Rahal

Jack Harvey

Jimmie Johnson

Kyle Kirkwood

Simona DeSilvestro

Rossi Leads Practice 1

Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta led an Andretti 1-2 in the openeing round of practice yesterday afternoon at road America. The teammates exchanged the top spot a couple of times in the last few minutes of the extended session.

Much of the session saw few cars on track as teams tried to save their tires for the race. In the end there was about the same amount of activity as in a 45 minute practice round. The 75 minutes was an experiment, and I would rather see two shorter sessions on Friday than one long one.


Today’s Schedule:

Saturday, June 11, 2022 All Times Central
7:00 a.m. Gates Open
8:00 a.m. Indy Pro 2000 Q2
8:45 a.m. INDY LIGHTS P2
9:45 a.m. INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 Peacock
11:00 a.m. USF2000 R#1
12:00 p.m. INDY LIGHTS Qualifying

12:45 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying/Firestone Fast 6 Peacock
2:15 p.m. Indy Pro 2000 R#1
3:20 p.m. USF2000 R#2
4:20 p.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES Final Practice Peacock
5:05 p.m. RADICAL CUP R#2
6:10 p.m. Vintage Indy Registry

I will probably get to the track in the middle of the morning practice,and I will have a more detailed report.

Ilott Cleared to Drive; Another Tweak to Practice Time

Just a couple of news items as we head toward the season’s halfway point

Callum Ilott has been cleared to drive this weekend. The Juncos Hollinger racing driver injured his hand in a crash during the Indianapolis 500, and missed last week’s race at Detroit. Ilott will be in the car at road America. Natural road courses seem to be the rookie’s strength. he was on his way to his best finish at barber until a spin put him at the back of the field.

Practice Session Time

Indycar will make another change to its practice session this weekend. Earlier this season Indycar allotted an hour to complete the 45 minutes of on track time. The intent was to get the full 45 minutes of track in despite stoppages for tow ins or accidents. It hasn’t quite worked with multiple incidents which have not allowed for a full session.

Tomorrow’s first practice will be 75 minutes, going from 3:330-4:445 pm Central time. Teams will be allowed to use the red tires tomorrow instead of Saturday, a move that Indycar hopes will encourage more cars to take advantage of the time.

Some teams have complained of the lack of practice time. Let’s see if they use the extra time they are given. I appreciate Indycar’s willingness to adjust to find a good solution.

Road America Fast Facts

Indycar photo

From Indycar

Race weekend: Friday, June 10 – Sunday, June 12
Track: Road America, a 4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course (clockwise), in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Race distance: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 55 laps / 222.64 miles | Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 20 laps/80.96 miles or 55 minutes
Push-to-pass parameters: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate for use during the race weekend. One additional set of primary tires may be used by teams fielding a rookie driver. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of new (sticker) alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.
Twitter: @RoadAmerica @INDYCAR, #SonsioGP, #INDYCAR
Event website:
INDYCAR website:
2021 race winners: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda)
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Race 1: Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 Andretti Autosport) Race 2: David Malukas (No. 79 HMD Motorsports)
2021 NTT P1 Award winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) 1:46.0168, 136.301 mph
Qualifying lap record: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Dario Franchitti, 1:39.866, 145.924 mph, Aug. 19, 2000
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Colton Herta, 1:52.0034, 129.018 mph, June 24, 2017
NBC Sports race telecast: 12:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, June 12, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe.
Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product, while NBC’s Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service. Peacock Premium’s exclusive post-race show – featuring driver interviews, podium ceremonies and post-race analysis – will be streamed following the race. The Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America will be streamed on Peacock Premium, with practice and qualifying being shown on INDYCAR Live!
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young are the turn announcers. Ryan Myrehn and Joel Sebastianelli are the pit reporters. The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America race (noon ET Sunday), Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America (10:30 a.m. ET Sunday) and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
At-track schedule (all times Central Time):
Friday, June 10
2:30-3 p.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Practice 1, INDYCAR Live!
3:25-4:40 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 1, Peacock Premium (Note: One set of alternate tires may be used during this session and all teams must return that set after the practice)
Saturday, June 11
8:45-9:25 a.m. – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Practice 2, INDYCAR Live!
9:45-10:45 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Practice 2 (45 minutes in a 60-minute window), Peacock Premium
Noon-12:25 p.m. –  Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying, INDYCAR Live!
12:45-2 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (Three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium
4:20-4:50 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES Final Practice, Peacock Premium
Sunday, June 12
9:35 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America command to start engines
9:40 a.m. – Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America (20 laps/55 minutes), Peacock Premium
11:10 a.m. – Driver introductions
11:48 a.m. – Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR command to start engines
11:55 a.m. – Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR (55 laps/222.64 miles), NBC (live)
There have been six different winners in seven NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in the 2022 season. Scott McLaughlin (Streets of St. Petersburg), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway and Streets of Long Beach), Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park), Colton Herta (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1), Marcus Ericsson (Indianapolis 500) and Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle Park)have all won in 2022. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.·
There have been seven different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Marcus Ericsson and Will Power). The only repeat winners in that stretch are Herta (Laguna Seca, 2021 and Long Beach, 2021) and Newgarden (Texas, 2022 and Long Beach 2022).· The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR will be the 33rd INDYCAR SERIES event conducted at Road America since it hosted its first INDYCAR event in 1982. 
Mario AndrettiMichael Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi have the most wins by an INDYCAR SERIES driver at the track (three).· Scott Dixon has won twice at Road America – most among active drivers. Other previous Road America winners entered include Josef NewgardenWill PowerAlexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist and Alex Palou.
Scott Dixon 2 2017, 2020 Race #1
Will Power 1 2016
Josef Newgarden 1 2018
Alexander Rossi 1 2019
Felix Rosenqvist 1 2020 Race #2
Alex Palou 1 2021·
Eight drivers have won the Road America race from the pole: Mario Andretti (1983, 1984 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989), Paul Tracy (1993), Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Bruno Junqueira (2003), Sebastien Bourdais (2007), Will Power (2016) and Josef Newgarden (2018).
Josef Newgarden 3 2018, 2020 Race #1, 2021
Will Power 1 2016
Helio Castroneves 1 2017
Colton Herta 1 2019
Pato O’Ward 1 2020 Race #2·
The driver who has gone on to win the championship has won at Road America six times: Mario Andretti (1984), Michael Andretti (1991), Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Alex Zanardi (1997), Cristiano da Matta (2002), Sebastien Bourdais (2007) and Scott Dixon (2020).· 
Scott Dixon and Will Power have competed in nine previous races at Road America, most of any driver.
Twelve entered drivers have led laps at the track (Josef Newgarden 123, Will Power 60, Alexander Rossi 54, Pato O’Ward 43, Scott Dixon 43, Helio Castroneves 41, Felix Rosenqvist 8, Alex Palou 5, Graham Rahal 5, Marcus Ericsson 2, Simon Pagenaud 2 and Takuma Sato 2).·
Chip Ganassi Racing has won the last three INDYCAR SERIES races at Road America and is one of three current teams with wins at the track. Overall, Chip Ganassi Racing has won six times at Road America (1997, 2001, 2017, a sweep of the 2020 doubleheader and 2021). Team Penske has won five times at Road America (1989, 1992, 1993, 2016 and 2018) while Andretti Autosport won its first in 2019.· Rookies Tatiana CalderonDevlin DeFrancescoCallum IlottKyle KirkwoodChristian Lundgaard and David Malukas and NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Simona De Silvestro will race an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at Road America for the first time this weekend. De Silvestro will make her 2022 season debut with Paretta Autosport.·
Milestones: Scott Dixon will attempt to make his 296th consecutive start, the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES history…The last time two female drivers were on the grid for an NTT INDYCAR SERIES race was the 2015 Indianapolis 500 with drivers Simona De Silvestro and Pippa Mann.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Notes:· 
Linus Lundqvist will try to extend his Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires win streak to four races when the Indy Lights Grand Prix at Road America hits the track on Sunday. The 23-year-old Swede, who leads Benjamin Pedersen by 84 points heading into the weekend, could match the win streak of Kyle Kirkwood, who won four in a row in his title-winning season in 2021 and Oliver Askew, who also won four races in a row in his title-winning 2019 season. The series record for consecutive wins is five, shared by Greg Moore in 1995 and Alex Lloyd in 2007.·
Push-to-pass could play a key strategic role at Road America as Indy Lights drivers will have a bank of 150 seconds to use an added 50 horsepower to assist in overtaking, similar to the drivers in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The maximum amount of time for each press of the overtake system is 15 seconds.·
The 2022 season features a deep and talented field with race winners such as Linus Lundqvist and Matthew Brabham joining a promising rookie class that includes Christian Rasmussen (Indy Pro 2000 champ), Hunter McElrea (Indy Pro 2000), Kyffin Simpson (Formula Regional Americas champion) and Ernie Francis Jr. (seven-time Trans Am champion/Formula Regional Americas). Other contenders include returning drivers Danial FrostSting Ray Robb and Benjamin Pedersen