INDYCAR Pre-Race Media: Road America Track Trends

TRACK: Road America (4.014-mile, 14-turn road course), DISTANCE: 55 Laps (221 Miles)


TRACK HISTORY/TRENDS

This will be the sixth straight year that the series has been coming back to this historic venue. See, this was always a permanent placement on the open wheel calendar. They came here every year from 1982 through 2007. But, with the unification of the two open wheel series for 2008, Road America was a casualty. Then, it came back in 2016 and has been around ever since.

  • Other than last year, the previous four races here were won by a top five starter including three of which from the front row.
  • The top four starters won 9 of the 14 races run last year including 8 of the final 9. They’re 4-for-8 already this season too (Rinus Veekay-7th, Helio Castroneves – 8th at Indy and Marcus Ericsson/Pato O’Ward in Belle Isle).
  • 6 of the 8 winners this year have started in the top 5 Rows.
  • 12 of the 14 races last year saw the winner come from a top 10 starting position including 6 of the 8 this season. That comes after all 17 races in 2019 having a top 10 starter win as well as the 2018 season finale.
  • 39 of the last 42 races saw the eventual race winner come from a top 10 starting spot. Simon Pagenaud (23rd) last July in Iowa and both races last weekend are the only exceptions since the 2018 season finale.
  • Starting positions for natural road courses lately (since 2016) 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 7th, 1st, 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 20th, 1st, 4th, 1st, 8th, 2nd, 8th, 2nd, 1st, 7th, 9th, 7th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 7th. That’s 32 of the last 33 coming from the top 10 including 18 from the pole and 25 of 32 (76%) from the Fast 6.
  • Expect few cautions. There was one in 2016, two in 2017, zero in 2018 and again in 2019 while each race had three a year ago.
  • Since the new car came out in 2018, the “Big 3” have won 44 of the 55 races run (80-percent). Penske has won 22 times with Ganassi (13) and Andretti (9). But, RLL is next best with four victories while no one else has more than three.
  • Throw in RLL and you get 48 of 55 races won by these teams.
  • If you go back to 2016 though, that number stays the same. The “Big 3” have won 70 of 91 races run in that time frame. Throw in RLL and you get 77 of 91.

Will We See More Dominance?

Road America has been a site lately of some dominating performances. Will we see another on Sunday? Will Power led 46 of 50 laps in his 2016 win. Josef Newgarden led 53 of 55 laps in 2018. Alexander Rossi led 54 of 55 laps in 2019. Pato O’Ward led 43 of 55 laps in his second place effort in the second race of the doubleheader weekend a year ago.

So why the dominance at Road America and will it occur on Sunday afternoon?


TRACK COMPARISONS/WHO’S BEEN GOOD ON THEM

While a road course is a road course, Road America is most comparable though to Barber, Mid-Ohio, IMS (road course), Portland and Laguna Seca. Toronto, Long Beach and St. Pete are street circuits run on city streets. These other road courses are all natural free flowing terrain with some elevation changes. If you’re good at one, you’re more than likely good at the others.

Last year, Penske and Ganassi each won three times on these types of circuits including all three at IMS and then swept the podium in one of the races on them already this season at Barber. Andretti Autosport won the other last year while ECR won one this year. Scott Dixon won twice so did Will Power.

If you go back to 2019, we’ve had 16 different races on natural road courses with 10 different winners. Power, Dixon and Herta are all the best with three wins a piece. No one else has more than one.

Penske and Ganassi have each won five times with Andretti scoring four trips to victory lane on them too. RLL and ECR are the only other teams to have won a natural road course event since 2019 as it came at Barber (2019) and IMS (2021).

Team Penske and Ganassi have won five of the last six races at Road America with Andretti taking the other.

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