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Wednesday, May 22
The Indiana Daily Student

sports motor sports

NTT IndyCar Series returns to action at repaved Road America

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After not having a race last weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series returns to action on Father’s Day weekend at Road America. A busy Month of May was followed by the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit on the new circuit in downtown Detroit, which Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou dominated to extend his lead in the championship standings.

The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America — the 4.048-mile 14 turn permanent road course — was recently repaved at the end of 2022.

In 2022, then-driver for Andretti Autosport Alexander Rossi, won the pole position with a lap time of 01:44.8656. Each of the 27 drivers in this year's field were faster than Rossi’s 2022 pole speed in Friday’s first practice. Rossi, who currently drives for Arrow McLaren, led Friday’s practice session with a lap time of 01:41.7790 — three seconds faster than his pole speed from a year ago.

The Nevada City, California native looks for his first win since joining Arrow McLaren at the start of 2023. Rossi clearly has the speed to do so, but I have my eyes on several storylines heading into Sunday’s race at the famed Road America.

Personal thoughts:

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta

Colton Herta has set himself up nicely for success by qualifying in the pole position for Sunday’s Sonsio Grand Prix. Although Herta was two-tenths of a second away from setting a track record for the fastest pole lap, there is no lack of speed in the No. 28 Gainbridge Honda.

Herta currently stands at ninth in the championship standings and trails Alex Palou by 124 points. Although he’s a long shot to be fighting for the championship in the latter part of the season, a race win at Road America would go a long way in improving Herta’s outlook on this season.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou

Alex Palou has been a dominant force in many of the past three races and has two victories to show for it. Palou leads teammate Marcus Ericsson by 51 points in the championship standings. Although the Spaniard crashed into the Turn 14 tire barrier Saturday morning at Road America, the No. 10 American Legion Chevrolet was repaired in time for Palou to qualify in the 3rd position.

With just Herta and Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward starting in front of Palou, a strong finish looks to be in the cards for Palou come Sunday evening.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Team Penske’s Will Power

Although Scott Dixon and Will Power are two of the most accomplished veterans in the NTT IndyCar Series, the pair of legends tangled Saturday morning in the second practice.

After climbing from his damaged No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, Power proceeded to use an obscene gesture towards Dixon. The two drivers struggled in qualifying as Power will be starting in the 22nd position immediately followed by Dixon starting in the 23rd position.

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi

Although Rossi qualified in the fifth position for Sunday’s race, he led each of this weekend’s practice sessions. Rossi has consistently shown speed in his first season with Arrow McLaren and is vying for his second career victory at Road America after winning in 2019, which would also be Rossi’s first win this season.

My prediction to win: Alexander Rossi

My long shot to win: David Malukas

The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America is set for 1:15 p.m. EST Sunday and will be televised on USA Network. With a freshly repaved racing surface, the stars of the IndyCar Series are sure to produce another exciting race.

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