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RECAP: KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America

QUALIFYING.

With all four team drivers in Group 1 of Round 1 qualifying, the rule of numbers was lurking with only six cars able to advance. Unfortunately, it was Marco Andretti who finished eighth in the group, settling for a 15th-place starting position.

In Round 2, Alexander Rossi topped the charts with Ryan Hunter-Reay just behind him to progress to the Firestone Fast Six. Zach Veach, who made his second Round 2 appearance, would claim the 11th grid position.

When the checkered flag waved over the final round of qualifying, it was Team Penske who took the front row, but Andretti Autosport drivers Hunter-Reay and Rossi would claim the second with starting positions of third and fourth, respectively.

CHASING THE CHECKERS.

The excitement kicked off early at the iconic Road America road course, as Ryan Hunter-Reay grabbed second place from a struggling Will Power right after the green flag flew. The red-hot American driver would never let go of his position, staying on Josef Newgarden’s tail the entire race and finishing second for his third-straight podium.  

Marco Andretti started the KOHLER Grand Prix in 15th after a disappointing qualifying but immediately showed that he had a strong race car by making up six positions in the first two laps to run ninth. His strong race continued until an error on the last stint caused him to go off-track and he had to settle for 11th.

It was looking like another strong podium finish for Alexander Rossi as he remained within the top five through the first half of the race, keeping pace with his teammate, Hunter-Reay. However, a mechanical issue struck during the second stint and the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda was forced to pit off-strategy and Rossi couldn’t recover from the extra stop, finishing 16th.

Bad luck struck Zach Veach in his first Verizon IndyCar Series race at Road America, as the talented rookie started in 11th but ran into handling issues early in the race. The Relay Group 1001 crew found and fixed the problem, getting Veach back on the track – where he was able to salvage a 22nd-place finish.

NEXT.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now breaks for a weekend, returning to competition at Iowa Speedway July 8.  Keep up to speed between the checkers and the greens with AndrettiAutosport.com and via our suite of social media channels.

IN THEIR WORDS.

No. 28 DHL Honda
Verizon INDYCAR Series
“Hats off to Josef [Newgarden], he did a great job. I thought we had the pace for him early on, but after we took that second to last set of [Firestone] reds -- and then at the end with him on the new reds -- I could keep up with him for a bit, but then in the dirty air I just couldn’t do anything with him. That’s about all we had today. I thought the car was really good. I was hoping to make it a better show for the fans – I was hoping to get up there and make it interesting. I gave it 110% the whole way. Big thanks to the 28 DHL team – rock stars in the pit lane and continuing the consistency.”

No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda
Verizon INDYCAR Series

“I made the call to go to blacks at the end when we should’ve gone with reds – so that cost us a top 10.  I just completely lost the front and went off the track. I  made an error there at the end of the race. I think I cost us a top 10 today.”

No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda
 Verizon INDYCAR Series

"I definitely think we had a car to fight for a podium finish. It wasn’t enough to win today, but halfway though the second stint we had some camber shims fall out of the left front tire which made it pretty undrivable. It’s disappointing that something like that happened. It’s the way the world and racing works sometimes, but we’re still second in the championship and we’ll move focus to Iowa."

 No. 26 Relay / Group 1001 Honda
Verizon INDYCAR Series

"We had something come loose on the steering racks. Basically one of the lock nuts that keep the toe-links in their position with the steering racks came loose. At the start I had a good start up to P8 into Turn 1 and then the steering wheel started going left-hand down further and further to the point where I was going down the straightaway with my hands at 7 and 2, so it was kind of strange. Our fear was it was going to put us in the wall so we stopped, luckily. My crew did a great job - they found it and fixed it but from that point on it set our fate to have no yellows here at Road America. We keep showing people we belong in the top-10 and we keep having performances to get us there but little things keep taking us out of it. I think people are noticing the speed that we have - we just need a little bit of luck."

INDY LIGHTS PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES

RACE 1.

Round 8 of Indy Lights competition was a battle amongst teammates with second-generation driver Colton Herta and rookie Patricio O'Ward both hungry for the top spot on the podium. Passing O'Ward early in the race, Herta went on to pass Victor Franzoni on Lap 6 taking the lead. After leading 15 of the 20-lap race, and setting a fastest lap speed of 125.313 mph, it was Herta who chased the checkered flag to victory - earning his fourth consecutive win. It was a 1-2 finish for the Andretti team as O'Ward would cross the finish line in second place - scoring his sixth-podium finish of the season.

Ryan Norman
 and Dalton Kellett would see the checkered flags wave over the 4-mile track from the sixth and seventh places, respectively.

RACE 2.

The fight for the championship continued Sunday morning as the drivers took to the 4-mile road course for the last stint of the double-header weekend. The field was competitive and aggressive passing had all four drivers working hard to move up the field.

Bad luck struck veteran driver Dalton Kellett and teammate Ryan Norman as the two made contact causing Kellett to pit on Lap 2 for a left-rear tire change and falling to the back of the field. Norman shifted his focus on Aaron Telitz in an attempt to move further up the field. Unable to make the pass Norman finished the weekend from fifth.

Starting on pole for Race 2, Patricio O'Ward was looking to bring home his fourth win of the season but after leading the first two laps of the race, O'Ward made contact with Santi Urrutia falling back to P3. O'Ward pressured teammate Colton Herta, who ran as high as P2, for the remainder of the race but was passed by Aaron Telitz with three laps to go ending O'Wards weekend just outside the podium.

Claiming victory for Race 1, Colton Herta was looking to sweep Road America. Starting from P4, Herta gained two positions after passing O'Ward on Lap 5 but ultimately settled for a second place finish. Herta's victory and podium keep him in the championship points lead as the drivers head into the second half of the season.

NEXT.

The Andretti Autosport Indy Lights team heads to Iowa Speedway July 7th for Round 10 of competition. Green flag for the 100-lap race waves on Sunday, July 8th.

IN THEIR WORDS.

No. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing / Curb Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1
"This is the fourth race we’ve won in a row, so we obviously have a package working. It’s been fun. These cars race amazingly – we don’t have a lot of aero understeer, so you can stay behind a car closely, and the push to pass helps massively. It’s a proper race car, you can race it in and we showed that today. I want to thank the whole Andretti Steinbrenner team – Pondurance, Mockett, Mazda and Cooper Tires.”

Race 2
"The pass [in Turn 5] was similar to Aaron Telitz's pass. I got the pass before braking, so I was able to get to the inside of Pato [O'Ward] and it was pretty straight forward just braking late. The first few laps I got shuffled back a little and I wasn’t sure how good we were going to be but once the tire temps came up, I knew we were quick and knew we had a chance to get on podium."

No. 27 CDMX Mexico City Riverina Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1
“I would have love to have gotten the win – but when I got alongside Colton, I went off [track] and for some reason the car started acting a little funky after I went over the rumble strips. I’ve broken so many tires this year, that I just wanted to get the car home. I’m happy to be in second place, we are starting on Pole tomorrow and looking forward to another good race.”

Race 2
"The race started off fine, but I think around Lap 4 or 5, [Santi] Urrutia came behind me and I didn’t think he was going to launch on me because he was pretty far back. He launched, and I gave him a lot of room but there was no way he was going to stop so he just ran into the side of me. He cut my left rear tire, damaged the left side of the floor and that was it for me. On the right side corners the car was very hard to control so I was just trying to nurse the car home. The race could've been worse - we could have been out of the race, but this was not the result we were hoping for."

No. 48 Journey Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1
“It was probably my worst race ever in the series, to be honest. It started out okay, I spun the tires on the start and passed Dalton before the first lap ended. I was with Aaron for a little bit and then just had massive drop off on the car. I almost tossed it in the wall – and it was loose through The Kink as well. At the end of the day, I just was trying to bring it home. Obviously, Pato and Colton have good cars and drove a great race. We’ll take a look at what they did and come back stronger tomorrow.”

Race 2
"The car was definitely a lot better today than yesterday so it was a lot easier to drive. I made contact with Dalton [Kellett] in Turn 3 at the start. I was on the outside and we touched so my front wing lifted up a little, which dragged my car a little bit. It was okay for the first six or seven laps, but the guys would just pull away from me on the straightaways. I got out of the push to pass and could not catch up at that point. We were running the same times as everyone up front, but out of luck with the wing and the push to pass. We will move on to the next one and hopefully do better."

No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA Mazda
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Series

Race 1
"It definitely wasn't the day we were hoping for. After not qualifying the K-Line car how we would've liked to, we knew we were going to have to work hard to move up the field and unfortunately that didn't happen. We'll see what the data shows tonight and look to improve for Race 2 tomorrow."

Race 2
"It definitely was not the weekend we wanted to have at all. It’s been a struggle right from the beginning. We came in this weekend a little bit on the wrong foot and it carried through qualifying. Starting at the back, that puts you at a little of a disadvantage here - everyone was jockeying for position. I made contact with a teammate, and obviously that is something you don't want to have happen. I haven’t seen the replay yet, so I don’t know what happened. Ryan [Norman] was on the outside and I feel like I had the line through the corner, so we’ll have to see what the replay shows. The K-Line Insulators USA crew did a great job doing a quick change in pit lane and getting us back out on the lead lap. I managed to get some clean laps on our own, to do a little testing. Once the leaders came up, the focus was to get out of their way. It was a frustrating weekend but looking forward to Iowa."