ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—Tough day. Put it behind you. Move on.
That is what A.J. Foyt’s team will do after a disappointing run at Road America Sunday.
Starting at the tail end of the grid at Road America is tough enough but the race went caution-free leaving little opportunity to take advantage of an alternate fuel strategy which Matheus Leist’s strategists opted to do. Splitting the strategy meant Tony Kanaan would pit with the leaders, making only three stops to Leist’s four.
Both drivers managed to avoid the tangle at the start of the race. Leist jumped from 20th to 16th and Kanaan gained four spots as well to move into 19th. Leist pitted on lap 8 setting up for a four-stop race. The extra stop meant he could run his fuel setting at full rich and would have an extra set of fresh tires on as well. His lap times were faster than his teammate Kanaan’s who had to stretch his fuel and run lean at times to make it on three stops.
Despite the efforts of both teams who had flawless pit stops the entire race, the results will show Leist finished 20th, the same position he started in.
“Tough day here at Road America,” Leist said. “Just struggling with the car setup. Balance-wise the car was not bad, it’s just that we didn’t have the speed or the pace. We tried a different strategy than most of the guys, four stops, which somehow helped us because I felt our tire degradation was a little bit worse than everyone else. We’re going to focus on the next one, try to qualify better and try to build a better race car.”
Kanaan placed just behind him in 21st.
“It was a huge struggle today,” Kanaan stated. “We lost a ton of time on our second stint on used reds and that blew our strategy.”
Team President Larry Foyt echoed the prevailing sentiment, saying, “Nothing really positive to say about this weekend. We thought we unloaded at a pretty decent place where we’d be fighting for a top 12 qualifying but as has been our way this year, we were unable to improve the cars as much as the other teams do. It’s great that we’re going to this Mid-Ohio test this Tuesday because we know what we’re doing now is not working and we have to change things up. It’s a great opportunity to hit the reset and start trying to find some other directions to find a good way to end this season.”
Rossi won the event easily, leading 54 laps of the 55-lap race. Second through fifth were: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon.
Following the test at Mid-Ohio, Leist will take off for a two week visit to his native Brazil. The ABC Supply team will get a couple weekends off before heading to the next event at Toronto July 14th.