Rossi stays red hot, fastest at Road America

After finishing fifth and second in the last two NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, Alexander Rossi appears to be back in championship form with Andretti Autosport.

The driver of the #27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda confirmed that notion Friday during the weekend’s first practice at Road America, setting the fastest lap of the session in preparation for Sunday’s Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America. presented by AMR, the eighth of 17 races this season.

Rossi rode the scenic 14-turn, 4.048-mile laden permanent road course to seventh in the drivers’ standings after finishing in the top five of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear at Belle Isle Park racetrack in Detroit. Rossi trails series leader Will Power by 74 points. He finished in the top 11 in five consecutive races.

On Friday, Rossi led Friday’s field of 27 car-driver combinations with a lap of 1 minute, 45.6027 seconds, the first step towards what could be his first series win since 2019. At that same track, the Californian led 54 of 55 laps, winning by over 28 seconds for his seventh career series victory.

“Yeah, that was good,” Rossi said of Road America’s first day of practice. “It’s a little weird to have (the use of) the alternative Firestone (Firehawk) tires on Day 1, so it will be interesting to see how that translates into practice and qualifying (Saturday). of the track will continue to improve with each session of the weekend.

“Obviously the car drove very well, which is positive on these weekends when it’s so tight that you have to start from a good point.

Rossi’s lap edged the best time set by teammate Colton Herta, who clocked 1:45.7361 in the No.26 Andretti Autosport Gainbridge Honda with Curb-Agajanian. Rossi couldn’t be happier to end his 44-win drought at this track.

“I love this place,” he said. “I think it’s one of the top five road courses in the world according to my book. He has got everything. It’s just a pleasure to drive here.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world, the people are great, the fan turnout is awesome, the weather is usually pretty good, so all A-pluses in my book.”

Marcus Ericsson, last month’s “500” winner, finished third on Friday in the #8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in 1:45.8050. Will Power was fourth in the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:45.8592 with last year’s Road America winner Alex Palou fifth in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #10 The American Legion Honda at 1:45.9140 .

The 27 cars completed 160 more practice laps on Friday than in the opening practice of last year.

This race features the return to the series of Simona De Silvestro, the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year who finished second in 69 career starts. She drives the #16 Chevrolet Paretta Autosport in partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing.

The presence of de Silvestro and Tatiana Calderon (#11 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) gives the NTT INDYCAR SERIES two female drivers in the same race since the 2015 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. This race featured De Silvestro and Pippa Mann.

Callum Ilott, the #77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet driver who missed last week’s race in Detroit with a broken right hand suffered during the May 29 ‘500’, is also back. to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES stock. Kyle Kirkwood, who treated a right wrist injury after hitting a tire barrier on June 4 in Detroit, said he was back to “full grip strength” in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Chevrolet Racing.

Friday practice was only slowed once, for a spin by Meyer Shank Racing’s #06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda, Helio Castroneves.

Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have won the last three Road America races with Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist and Palou.

The series will resume at 10:45 a.m. (ET) with the first of two practices for the day. The second, at 5:20 p.m., follows the NTT P1 Award qualifications at 1:45 p.m.

All the action can be viewed on Peacock Premium, NBC’s live streaming platform. The INDYCAR radio network will also have coverage on the INDYCAR mobile app and

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