By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway had plenty of chaotic headlines. Among those being the oval debut of Romain Grosjean, who finished 14th in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
The talk didn’t focus on losing ground to fourth-place finisher Scott McLaughlin for Rookie of the Year honors. Instead, the chatter was about Grosjean adapting to a whole new style of racing after not competing in the other oval races.
One of the highlights took place on Lap 85 when Grosjean made a daring bottom lane pass on Dalton Kellett for 12th. That move alone became evident “The French Phoenix” wasn’t wasting time to make his move on the 1.25-mile oval.
The No. 51 Dale Coyne w/ Rick Ware Racing Honda was on a prowl throughout the night and after completing 259 of 260 laps, there was a grin on his face.
“Some part of the race went amazing. Some other parts went a little bit more complicated,” said Grosjean.
Grosjean added that a pivotal part of his night ending up as it did boiled down to both pit road strategy and handling tire conditions.
“I made a couple of mistakes on cold tires. Went up in the marbles. That cost us some time, but we also got unlucky with our strategy,” Grosjean explained. “It just didn’t work out and couldn’t get our lap back. It’s a bit hard to finish 14th after having a good shot out there.”
With the West Coast Swing (Portland, Laguna Seca and Long Beach) left to wrap up the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series campaign, Grosjean sits 15th in points. As for the ROTY battle, he trails McLaughlin by 23 points.