For the first time in what seemed like ages last weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series took a well-deserved break on Father’s Day weekend as drivers and teams looked to regroup for the start of the second half of the 2019 season. This weekend, though, they’re back in action at Road America, as the fan favorite course in Wisconsin plays host to Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
First held as a CART event in 1982, the annual race at Road America was one of a number of casualties of the IndyCar-Champ Car merger until being revived in 2016. Since then, it’s been dominated by the sport’s biggest teams: Team Penske, which won with Will Power in 2016 and Josef Newgarden last year, and Chip Ganassi Racing, which triumphed with Scott Dixon in 2017. The two teams have combined for seven of the nine available podium spots since the race’s return to the schedule.
Considering what the season has looked like as of late, that may not change too heavily, either. Since Andretti Autosport star Alexander Rossi’s stomping of the field in Long Beach, Penske and Ganassi have won each of the last five races. But Rossi is due for another victory, with podium finishes in three of the last four races and only two finishes outside of the top five all season. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato is also on a hot streak, and may have already notched his first two-win IndyCar season with a victory at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago if not for his frightening pit road incident with front tire changer Chris Welch.
Don’t sleep on Dale Coyne Racing, either. Sebastien Bourdais is the only returning race winner from the CART/Champ Car era, having taken the checkered flag in its final running under that sanction in 2007. Rookie Santino Ferrucci, meanwhile, has made the most of his move to IndyCar after his acrimonious dismissal from Trident F2 last season; he has five top-10 finishes so far, including a season-best fourth place in Texas, and now sits ninth in points.
Road America is also a popular venue for IndyCar’s part-time teams to visit. Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey and DragonSpeed’s Ben Hanley will both be back in action for the first time since the Indianapolis 500. In addition, Ed Jones returns to Ed Carpenter Racing, while Patricio O’Ward and Max Chilton have been confirmed as Carlin Racing’s drivers for the weekend after sponsor-related questions about O’Ward’s future and Chilton’s decision to step away from future oval races.
The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America will air on NBC on Sunday at 12:30PM ET/9:30AM PT. Following Road America, the NTT IndyCar Series will take a two-week break before returning to action north of the border in July 14’s Honda Indy Toronto.