ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—Despite a promising first day of practice at the scenic Road America circuit, A.J. Foyt’s team continues to struggle at the permanent road circuits.
Yesterday’s combined results showed Matheus Leist in 17th and Tony Kanaan in 18th. In the final warmup yesterday evening, Kanaan was eighth quick in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet and Leist was 14th in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. However, in qualifying this afternoon, both drivers dropped a bit in the speed charts.
With Road America being four miles long, the qualifying round is extended to 12 minutes from its normal 10 minutes, but even then, drivers only get four or five laps max.
Leist, who ran three laps on the primary tires and his final two laps on the alternate (red) tires, posted a lap time of 1 minute, 43.8570 seconds around one of the most beautiful circuits in the U.S. “We still need to improve a little bit for tomorrow,” Leist said. “We qualified 20th and we still need to find some more speed with the black tires mainly, the car feels alright with the red tires. We’ll see how things will be tomorrow, it looks like it’s going to rain but we never know. I will concentrate and do my best to give the team a good finish.”
Kanaan ‘s team took a different tack, bringing him in after two laps on the primary tires and sending him out for two laps on the alternate tires. He posted a lap time of 1 minute, 44.4183 seconds which put him 23rd on the grid. “We went the wrong way,” Kanaan said afterwards. “We tried to make the car better but we made the car worse, no excuses, it’s just a choice that we made and it didn’t work. Disappointing because I thought we had a much better car than this but we will be okay.”
Tomorrow Kanaan will make his 370th start to move ahead of his boss A.J. Foyt in career starts.
Colton Herta won the pole with a time of 1 minute, 42.9920 seconds. Rounding out the top six: Alexander Rossi, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, and Takuma Sato.
The REV Group Grand Prix will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET.