ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—Races are won and lost in the pits. That was certainly true for the REV Group Grand Prix Race 1 here at the beautiful Road America circuit. Scott Dixon beat Will Power out of the pits in the final stop to take the lead and win the race—his third straight victory in as many tries.
For the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet team, the pit stops were solid all day and helped Charlie Kimball gain track position. Kimball, who qualified at 1 minute, 47.6862 seconds (134.190 mph) and started 22nd, knew he had his work cut out for him today.
The pit stops for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet crew were fast and consistent.
Starting out on used alternate (red) compound Firestone tires, Kimball made some gains early and moved up to 16th but then dropped three spots after a little dustup on lap 3. Undeterred, he maintained his cool. He worked his way up through the grid as the team improved the car throughout the race with tire pressures and a front wing adjustment. Avoiding other people’s misfortunes–several drivers spun off course–also contributed to his result.
When the checkered flag flew after 55 laps, Kimball sailed across in 11th, matching his showing in the season opener at Texas Motor Speedway.
Charlie discusses his race with engineer Mike Pawlowski as Larry Foyt looks on.
“Great day for the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet here in Race 1 at Road America,” an enthused Kimball said. “The guys did an awesome job in pit lane. All three stops were really quick, on the money all day long. The car got better and better as the race developed and we got close to that top 10 but didn’t quite get there, but learned a lot about the car, learned a lot about what we need to do for tomorrow for Race number two.”
Rookie Dalton Kellett is having a ‘baptism by fire’ season. At Road America, there was just one 75-minute practice before qualifying today. With it being a 4-mile long track and lap times in the minute 40-second bracket, that doesn’t allow for many laps or changes to the setup.
Kellett qualified at 1 minute, 47.5761 seconds (134.327 mph). He started 23rd on the grid on black tires. He continued to improve his lap times and was keeping pace in his group. There were a couple of issues during the first two pit stops that caused him to lose track position. However, on lap 38, Jack Harvey’s off track excursion brought out the first caution flag, allowing Kellett to close the gap. The second caution followed four laps later (lap 42) for Conor Daly and Pato O’Ward making contact, with Daly spinning and hitting the concrete barrier hard. The third caution occurred on the restart when Kellett dropped a wheel off track and went into the gravel trap in Turn 14 after trying to avoid cars checking up ahead of him. By the time the safety trucks had extricated him, he had lost a lap.
“It was an interesting day at Road America,” Kellett said. “Definitely taking some time to
get used to the track. This place has a lot more high speed corners than Indy GP so there’s a bit of familiarization with that. In the race today, once we got some pace, we weren’t half bad on lap times. Had a couple rookie mistakes. Made a mistake on pitlane that cost us a bunch of time. Went long on my marks and guys had to reshuffle to get the stop done. On the restart I was trying to miss a couple of guys that were checking up and I dropped a wheel in the grass and I ended up stuck in the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 14 so went a lap down there, and that ended our chances to move up in the race. Feel bad for the guys, they were working great in pitlane all day but we’re going to have a look at everything tonight and come back stronger tomorrow.”
Following Dixon and Power across the line to round out the top five were Alex Palou, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Colton Herta.
Drivers will qualify for Race 2 tomorrow morning on a cool track at 9 a.m. CT. There will be two groups (11 and 12 cars) which will each run a 14-minute session. The single fastest lap will constitute the qualifying run.
The race will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET.