By David Morgan, Associate Editor
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – It was a familiar sight at the top of the scoring pylon on Sunday morning as Alexander Rossi paced the final warm-up practice ahead of the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
The driver of the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, who was the fastest in both pre-qualifying practice sessions, set the fast time with a lap of one minute, 41.7917 seconds ahead of six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
Despite a falter in qualifying that will have him starting in fifth-place, Rossi is confident in the machine his team has brought for him this weekend. He last won at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course in Wisconsin in 2019.
“We’ve had a great car all weekend,” Rossi said prior to final practice. “The test last week was good for us, obviously, as we led both practices. It was a messy qualifying for us; I got a pit speed penalty in Round 1, which really put us on the back foot because we never got a lap down on Firestone Reds. You can’t make those mistakes. That one’s on me.
“The car has been great all weekend, and it’s still our best road and street course qualifying by far this year, so we’ll take that positive. We certainly have a car that can win the race [Sunday].”
For Dixon, it’s a big shot in the arm for the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team after a crash with Will Power in practice on Saturday morning, which relegated him to a back-up car. Things didn’t get much better in qualifying as he will start near the back of the field in 23rd place.
Third-place in warm-up went to Will Power, who likewise will be rolling off from the back of the field after his crash with Dixon and a disappointing run in qualifying. Power will look to put his anger to good use as he tries to climb from the 22nd place position on the grid at the start of the race.
Pato O’Ward finished the half-hour long session in fourth-place, while Kyle Kirkwood rounded out the top-10.
The remainder of the top-10 went to Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey, Marcus Ericsson, Rinus VeeKay, and Scott McLaughlin.
Romain Grosjean, who has had a weekend he would like to forget, brought out the only stoppage of the session when he spun his Andretti Autosport Honda around to force the red flag to be displayed. Others that had off-track excursions in the session were Pato O’Ward and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Preparations now begin for the main event, the 55-lap Sonsio Grand Prix, which is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET on USA Network.