By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Max Chilton made the most of a bad situation.
Leading up to final practice for the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America, the 26-year-old Brit’s crew found an issue with the brake system on the No. 8 Gallagher Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The problem sidelined the former Formula One driver for nearly the full hour of practice. It wasn’t until roughly 10 minutes to go that he was able to go out and complete four laps around the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course, with the 12th best time at 139.698 mph (1 minute, 43.4406 seconds).
“Always frustrating, especially when you’re at a track that you really like,” said Chilton.
“I call it my (type) track, here and Watkins Glen, but as it shows, I did four laps and ended up P12. I proved that I can be quicker. It wasn’t a bad job and I wasn’t even that happy with the car. Hopefully, we can sort that out. My aim is to get into the Fast Six. Now, with missing nearly all of FP3 it’s a bit of a long-shot but we’re going to give it our best shot.
“It’s frustrating. It was only a small change really, with what we needed to do, but we were having problems doing it, so it took an hour doing a job that usually only takes 20 minutes. So that was the issue. But we got out there and did some laps, so at least we have some data that we can look at.”
With a lack of practice time, the possibility of leaning on his fellow teammates – Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball – for a baseline setup on the car is a possibility, but unlikely given the uniqueness of each one of their different driving styles.
“Scott is always a bit of an odd one with his setups. We’re never really able to replicate what he can do, but I feel like here we can be knocking on his door with the speeds. I just need to maximize what we can learn with that. I wasn’t happy with it, so we’re going to have to take a stab at it for qualifying.
“I know as a driver, I can be in the Firestone Fast Six. So we’re going to have to make sure that the car is better, but the Ganassi team is a good four car team.
“If they are going to give me the car, it would be them.”