The NTT INDYCAR Series returns to Road America this weekend where Sebastien Bourdais, driving the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet, and his teammate Dalton Kellett, in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet, will compete against 23 other drivers on the picturesque 4-mile road course.
Sebastien Bourdais on Road America: “Looking forward to Road America, a place that I’ve always very much enjoyed. It’s gotten a lot rougher and harder on tires and it’s a tricky place, but I think if we can get the car in the zone, I think it’s a place where I know I can find my way around. I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get to Wisconsin.”
Dalton Kellett on Road America: “Road America is definitely one of the coolest tracks on our schedule and long, four miles. Pretty excited. Lots of big variation corners, really high-commitment, high-speed corners, some cooler low speed stuff, and definitely one of the prettiest tracks that we go to. It’s a classic American road course — so super excited. We’ve gotten better and better with our cars on road courses this year and I feel like I’m learning every weekend, so definitely looking forward to it.”
Justin Taylor has been going to Road America since the 1990s when he used to help his dad who was involved in SCCA. He engineered JR Hildebrand when he worked for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2017 (JR finished 16th) and the Mazda Dpi team in 2018. We asked him about Road America.
Taylor discusses tire temps with Bourdais following a practice session earlier this season.
What do you see as the biggest challenges in coming up with a setup?
JT: “Road America has a pretty good mix of low, medium and high speed corners as well as some long straights, so it’s just about finding the right compromise to be fast in the right places.” Is this a track that engineers have a love/hate relationship with?
JT: “There’s no question… I love Road Am.” Is Road America unique or can you apply info gleaned from other tracks?
JT: “Since there is such a good mix of corners, there are certainly elements of setup from other tracks that can be useful.” Is it possible to be a fuel saving race or is it too risky because of the length of the track (it’s a long way back to the pits)?
JT: “Fuel saving can always become a factor depending on the flow of the race, so the length of the track just makes it more exciting for the guys on the pit stand.”
Chris Tucker, crew chief and outside front tire changer for the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet, got a weekend pass to be present at the birth of his child who is due to arrive this weekend. Veteran mechanic and outside front tire changer Pat Nelson will take charge in Tucker’s absence. Should be a very Happy Father’s Day for the Tucker family.
Tucker motions to Kellett during a pitstop to hold as crew finishes its work.
A.J. Foyt will also be missing in action this weekend. Foyt missed Detroit as well because he is recovering from a heat stroke (hyperthermia) sustained while working outdoors at one of his properties. Foyt explained he had suffered from a heat stroke while racing in the ‘70s which makes him more vulnerable. With temperatures in the West and Southwest expected to hit near-record highs, forecasters are warning that everyone should take precautions as heat (or sun) strokes can occur when core body temperatures rise to 104 degrees from the normal 98.6 degrees. “I feel much better now,” said Foyt, adding, “but my doctors want me to take it easy for now so I’m trying to listen to them.”
Past Performance: Sebastien Bourdais’ best start is from the pole with Newman-Haas Racing in 2007, the year he won. In his prior three starts, he won the pole once and outside pole twice, he finished on the podium with one second and two thirds. Recently, his best start is sixth in 2018 (Dale Coyne with Vasser-Sullivan) and best finish is 12th in 2019 with the same team. Dalton Kellett made two starts as a rookie in 2020, starting 23rd and finishing 20th in both races. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 8th in 1993 with Eddie Cheever, and its best finish is eighth in 1991 with Mike Groff. The team did not compete in IndyCar races at Road America from 1996-2007. In the past six races, the team’s best finish is 10th with Charlie Kimball last year.
The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will be broadcast live by the NBC Sports Network Sunday, June 20 starting at 12 noon ET. The practices and qualifying will be streamed live on Peacock.