After a much-needed weekend off (for some at least) the IndyCar paddock are back in action, this time at the road course of Road America in Wisconsin. We are now over half-way through the season with clear title contenders starting to emerge but, as always with IndyCar, it’s still anyone’s game.
Last time out was the night race Texas Motor Speedway where Scott Dixon took all the glory with a dominant win, giving him the championship lead after the previous leader, Will Power, came to blows in a collision with Zachary Claman De Melo which was ultimately the former’s fault. The as-yet miserably unlucky Simon Pagenaud finally got his break with a second-place finish ahead of Alexander Rossi who was once again risking it all with daring overtakes.
Championship-wise, Dixon leads the pack with a 23-point advantage over Rossi who in turn has another 13 points on Indy 500 Champion Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay is the only other man who remains within a race-wins distance of Dixon, being 49-points back. Reigning champion Josef Newgarden is 68 points off the lead and then it’s a sizeable jump back to Graham Rahal and rookie Robert Wickens. Time is starting to become of the essence with a championship looking more and more unlikely for Newgarden or anyone currently behind him however, this is IndyCar… anything can happen!
The last running of Road America was won by Dixon in what was a relatively even race for both Honda and Chevrolet, with the latter looking to have the slight edge – whether that will be the case this year remains to be seen. Following Dixon home was the eventual champion Newgarden who headed the Penske quartet of himself, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.
Other than a few minor spins and brushes of the wall, the only major incident was when Tony Kanaan hit the wall quite heavily at Turn 11 following an unsuccessful attempt to pass Rossi. The grass margin between the track and the rather unforgiving walls helped quite a few drivers last year and, with no rain scheduled, it should do again this year.
Road America is, as the name suggests, is a road course so qualifying will be split into the three normal parts starting with two groups of twelve, followed by a single group of twelve and then the all-important Firestone Fast Six.
There are just two driver changes for this weekend; Jordan King is back in the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing car, taking over from the boss while Force India Junior Driver Alfonso Celis Jr. will be making his IndyCar debut in the solo Juncos entry.
With nine races already done, there are eight to go, including Road America, so every race is getting that bit more important for the championship contenders. The usual lot of Andretti, Penske and Chip Ganassi should be strong along with Schmidt Peterson who will be hoping for a return to their better form after a run of harder races for the squad.
After the unsociable times of the night race at Texas, this weekend’s IndyCar times are much more UK friendly with all the practice and qualifying sessions live on IndyCar’s streaming channels and the race being shown live on the BT Sport/ESPN channel. There will also be commentary for both qualifying and the race on our Twitter channel if you’re unable to watch them. The timings for the weekend are as follows:
Practice 1 – 5:00pm
Practice 2 – 9:15pm
Practice 3 – 5:00pm
Qualifying – 9:00pm
Race – 6:05pm
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