Race Preview: Road America

Race Preview: Road America

Chip Ganassi Racing will look to maintain their winning momentum at the Grand Prix at Road America this weekend and bolster their command of the championship chase.

CGR sits first (Palou: 273), second (Ericsson: 222) and fourth (Dixon: 194) in the points standings thanks in large part to their consistency and qualifying pace. 

Palou and Ericsson have both recorded a top-10 finish in all seven races to kick off the season. Only two other drivers (Castroneves – 2017; Power – 2014) have finished top-10 in each of the first eight races to start the INDYCAR season since reunification in 2008.

Chip Ganassi Racing boasts the best average starting position (7.64) among all teams this year, with both Palou and Dixon advancing to compete in the Firestone Fast 6 in five of the seven races. The team will look to capture pole position for the third consecutive race weekend (Palou: Detroit and Indianapolis 500), something they have not done since 2012 (Milwaukee; Iowa; Toronto).

The team has recorded six wins (2021; 2020 Race 1/2; 2017; 2001; 1997) and 13 podiums at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Alex Palou earned the team’s most recent win at the track in 2021 during his title-winning campaign. 

Catch coverage all weekend long on Peacock, along with USA airing the 55-lap race on Sunday, June 18, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Alex Palou
No. 10 American Legion Honda
“It’s been a good start to the season so far and it feels like the No. 10 car has been on a roll. We’ve had really good races since the month of May, and we want to continue that. We’re going to my favorite road course of the year with that brand new pavement that we haven’t tried, just like the other teams. We’ve been working hard with the simulator and back at the shop to make sure we’re ready.”

Palou’s pace and racecraft was on full display again on the Streets of Detroit, picking up a win from the pole position. He boasts INDYCAR’s best average finishing position this year (3.86). In fact, he’s recorded the second-best average result through the first seven races of the season since INDYCAR reunification in 2008. Only his teammate Scott Dixon recorded a better mark (3.43) in that span to kick off his own title-winning campaign in 2020.

Palou won at Road America during his title-winning campaign in 2021, seizing the lead on a restart with just two laps to go.

Marcus Ericsson
No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda
“Road America this weekend, and it is one of my absolute favorites. It’s the best road course of the season, no doubt. It’s a track where we finished second last year, so good memories from there. Obviously, we want to make the top step this weekend, though. We’re coming into the race with a really good feeling. We’ve had a good start to the season with all seven races in the top-10 and sitting second in the championship. It will be interesting this weekend with the new surface laid down at Road America and it’ll be something to follow. The atmosphere is always amazing with so many people and it being such a beautiful place to go race at. I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

Ericsson and the No. 8 team have launched an impressive championship chase of their own to kick off the 2023 season. Like Palou, Ericsson has finished in the top-10 in all seven races to kick off the year. He picked up a win in the St. Pete season opener and has also led laps in four of the seven races.

Despite still searching for his first career road course victory, he holds the second-best average finishing position (7.83 Dixon: 7.29) on such tracks since joining CGR in 2020. He earned a P2 finish at Road America in 2022 and has placed top-10 in all four of his races at the track with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Scott Dixon
No. 9 PNC Bank Women in Motorsports Honda“This is one of the cool, old-school tracks that we get to go to. There are some unknowns with the resurfacing, but it sounds like it’s a really fast track with possibilities of breaking the all-time records with some of the test times that we’ve seen. Love the high-grip circuits and hopefully that plays well for us. It’s been great to us in the past as a team.”

Dixon is no stranger to victory at Road America. He’s won twice before (2020; 2017) and with a third win, would tie Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti for the most INDYCAR wins in track history. 

The Iceman has exhibited a strong qualifying pace this year, as he is one of just four drivers to qualify among the top-12 in all seven races and has also advanced to the Firestone Fast 6 in five of those races. 

Marcus Armstrong
No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda
“This is a great track, which has obviously been resurfaced, and it should make a big difference to the car set-up and philosophy. I think it’ll be a good advantage to have tested there last week. I enjoyed the track and I feel like it reminded me of a lot of racing in Spa with the nature of the circuit, the layout and the style of driving. I’m looking forward to it and feel like it’ll be a great weekend, as well.”

While he isn’t keen on the “biggest mover” title, Armstrong has generated a net gain of +20 positions from the start to finish of road and street course races this season. That is the third-most positions gained across the field (Rahal: +28; Power: +23). 

He remains the top rookie with 101 points despite racing on only road and street courses this year.