It is race day at the iconic Road America, surrounded by the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine Valley. Today’s weather will be dry but it is predicted to be in the low 60s at the scheduled start time of 11:45 am.
The starting grid has changed since the qualifying was completed yesterday. Colton Herta, the driver of the no 26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport entry, has been given a six-grid spot penalty for an unrepairable engine due to a Carb Day crash in Indianapolis. The penalty was announced after 5 pm Saturday, which moves up some of the championship contenders one spot.
Qualifying in the front for this race has not guaranteed anyone a win. Since 2016, only two drivers have won from the pole, Will Power in 2016 and Josef Newgarden in 2018. But all seven race winners since the NTT INDYCAR Series returned to this 4.048 challenging course in 2016 have been won by drivers starting in the top nine.
Honda-powered cars have won the past four races here with Chip Ganassi Racing winning the last three, Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist in 2020, and Alex Palou in 2021. Back-to-back races were held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The series ran a 30-minute practice session on Saturday after qualifying so there will be no morning warm up before today’s race.
There has been some talk about repaving this track, which has not been done for quite a while. Most drivers that have driven here many times have figured out where the grip is or where it is not. So repaving always does not please these drivers.
Today’s polesitter, Alexander Rossi, driver of the no 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Andretti Autosport entry, was thrilled to hear about the change. “Hell, yeah. When you look at Watkins, when they repaved that, Barber, it was unlimited grip, lap time. For us as drivers, all we want to do is go faster, right? I wish we could repave it right now and see what it’s going to be like. It’s going to be really, really cool.”
AR1 will keep you updated today.
Lucille Dust reporting live from Road America