By: Spencer Neff
June 19, 2021
Saturday would bring the final practice sessions and qualifying to set the field for Sunday’s 55-lap race. Here’s how things played out during the day at the 4.014-mile,14-turn Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden earned his 13th career pole and his third at Road America. After a bold strategy using the primary Firestone tires over the alternate, the No. 2 earned their second consecutive pole with a best lap of 1m46.0186 (136.301 miles per hour), topping Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta by .243 of a second.
This is Newgarden’s third pole at Road America and 13th of his career. Newgarden also earned the pole here in 2018 (when he won the race) and in Race 1 of last year’s doubleheader.
Rounding out the Fast Six were Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey with Team Penske’s Will Power, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud leading the first three rows.
Harvey would lead Round 2 after posting a 1m45.3612 lap at 137.151 mph, with Herta Newgarden, Pagenaud, Palou and Power also making the Fast Six to run for the pole.
Romain Grosjean, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Pato O’Ward. Sebastien Bourdais and Ed Jones did not advance, placing them seventh through twelfth for Sunday’s race.
Herta led Group 1 of the first round of qualifying with a best lap of 1m45.7504 (136.646 mph), with Palou, Bourdais, Pagenaud, Grosjean and Hunter-Reay also moving to Round 2.
Scott Dixon, Conor Daly, Scott McLaughlin, James Hinchcliffe, Kevin Magnussen and Jimmie Johnson were eliminated.
Newgarden was quickest in Group 2 with a fastest lap time of 1m45.6078 (136.831 mph). Rossi, Power,O’Ward,Jones and Harvey also moved on to Round 2.
Graham Rahal, Oliver Askew, Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato, Max Chilton, Dalton Kellett and Cody Ware did not advance.
Newgarden leads Practice 2
Completing the on-track preparations for qualifying, Newgarden led the second practice session of the weekend on Saturday morning.
The No. 2 entry turned a best lap of 1m45.3399 (137.179 mph), besting Herta by .1331 of a second. Graham Rahal finished third, with Friday practice leader Grosjean in fourth and Askew in fifth.
Dixon missed the bulk of the 45-minute session after sustaining damage to the under tray of his No. 9 Dallara-Honda. Fortunately, his Chip Ganassi Racing crew was able to repair his car in time for him to run some laps at the conclusion of the session.
Herta tops Final Practice
Finishing off Saturday’s on-track time and preparations for Sunday’s race, Herta led the way during the 30-minute practice session, as the the 2019 Road America pole sitter ran a best lap of 1m47.6312 (134.258 mph).
Tomorrow’s outside pole sitter looks for his second win of 2021 (St. Petersburg). The session was interrupted early after A.J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett stalled, the only major incident of the day.
Here is the schedule for Sunday’s on-track activities. Keep tabs on this weekend’s action with IndyCar1909.com and our social media platforms, listed at the bottom of our webpage. All times listed are Eastern. NBCSN begins their broadcast at 12:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
Sunday, June 20
12:05 p.m. – Driver introductions
12:38 p.m. – Command to start engines
12:45 p.m. – REV Group Grand Prix (55 laps/220.77 miles), NBCSN (live)
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR