ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Rookie Romain Grosjean led the first practice for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR on Friday afternoon at Road America, continuing his strong pace this season.
Formula One veteran Grosjean’s top lap was 1 minute, 47.6781 seconds in the No. 51 NURTEC ODT Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing with RWR on the 14-turn, 4.014-mile road course. Grosjean has qualified in the top seven at four of his five starts in the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, including the NTT P1 Award for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis, as he is contesting only the road and street circuits.
LINK: Practice 1 Results
“It’s a good start,” Grosjean said. “The track is very different from when we came testing. I think we’ve got some work to do on setup. We managed to get a good lap in at the end. That’s good for the race weekend.”
The second practice starts at 11:10 a.m. (ET) Saturday (live on Peacock), followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying on Peacock at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, with delayed coverage at midnight Saturday on NBCSN. Final practice is live on Peacock at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
Live coverage of the 55-lap race starts at noon (ET) Sunday on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, looking to put a tough first half of the season behind him, was second fastest at 1:47.8024 in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Hunter-Reay is 15th in the series standings after eight of 16 races.
Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden was third overall at 1:47.8417 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Alex Palou, just one point behind Pato O’Ward for the series points lead, was fourth at 1:47.8515 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Graham Rahal rounded out the top five at 1:48.0938 in the No. 15 Hy-Vee Honda.
Championship leader O’Ward was 11th at 1:48.4251 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. His new teammate this weekend, Formula One veteran Kevin Magnussen, was 23rd at 1:50.4921 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in his first-ever laps in an INDYCAR SERIES car.
Magnussen is substituting for Felix Rosenqvist, who was not cleared to drive at this event by INDYCAR medical officials after a heavy crash last Saturday in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit.
Another pinch-hitter, Oliver Askew, impressed in his second new ride in as many weeks. Askew was ninth at 1:48.3000 in the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing while substituting for Rinus VeeKay, who suffered a broken clavicle in a cycling accident Monday.
2019 Indy Lights champion Askew substituted for Rosenqvist for Arrow McLaren SP last Sunday in Race 2 at Detroit, placing 25th in an early exit due to mechanical problems during his first start of the season.
Air temperatures were in the mid-to-high 80s under brilliant sunshine in Wisconsin, but engineers and drivers will be forced to work overtime as conditions look to change Saturday and Sunday. The forecast calls for high temperatures in the mid-70s, with morning rain, on Saturday and similar temperatures and afternoon rain Sunday.
“I think the weather is going to be changing here, so we just need to adapt to that,” Grosjean said. “As a rookie, I don’t know what that means for the car. I guess you find out.”