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Notes & Quotes: Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America

Road America with its newly repaved surface hosts the NTT INDYCAR Series this weekend. Drivers Santino Ferrucci (No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet) and Benjamin Pedersen (No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet) share their thoughts on the historic four-mile permanent road course where Pedersen tested last week in a productive outing.

SANTINO FERRUCCI

What do you love most about racing at Road America?

SF: "I think it’s a fun track, very European style, also incredibly quick and provides a lot of racing. It’s also nice that it’s a three-stop race as opposed to a typical two-stop which makes racing a little bit more fun and enjoyable for us drivers."

Does your experience in Europe help you with a track like Road America which has compared favorably to tracks in Europe?

SF: "I would say yes, especially since the track has been repaved. The one thing that separates it from a European track though is that there is no room for error versus a lot of the current European tracks or massive parking lots."

What is the biggest challenge at that track?

SF: "I think our biggest challenge at this track will be getting our set up in the window for qualifying. You really do need to qualify in the top-10 here to have a good race."

As a driver, what do you need to focus on at a track like Road America?

SF: "I would say as a driver, I’m probably focusing more on the braking points in high-speed sections. I think that’s where we have the most time to gain."

What is your favorite track food there?

SF: "Feel like you have to go with the cheese curds

Ferrucci Fast Facts: Age 25...Born in Woodbury, CT...Lives in Dallas, Texas...Began racing karts at age 5, moved to cars in 2013...Competed in Formula 2000, British Formula 3, GP3 finishing third at Spa Francorchamps as a rookie, was development driver for Haas F1 team for three years (2016-2018), moved to Formula 2 in 2018...made his INDYCAR debut in Detroit in 2018...moved to NTT INDYCAR Series fulltime in 2019 finishing 13th in standings for Dale Coyne and won Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing seventh...13th in standings again with fourth place finish in the 500...drove part-time in 2021-22 but maintained top-10 streak in Indy 500 with finishes of sixth (RLL Racing) and 10th (Dreyer Reinbold Racing)...Scored best finish to date this year with his 3rd place finish in the Indianapolis 500...Competed part-time in NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2021-22.

BENJAMIN PEDERSEN

How was your test at Road America last week?

BP: "Overall it was a good test. Even though when we rolled off the truck we were pretty far off from where we thought we would be, but by the end of the day we got into a good window. We will have a slightly different tire at Road America, so we hope the strides we made translates with the tire."

Where were the biggest gains made?

BP: "The biggest gains we made were in the high-speed corners, just making the car work better in those areas."

Comparing the INDY NXT car there to the Indy car, what were the biggest differences you noticed?

BP: "The high-speed grip is higher in the Indy car, but that's mainly due to the new track surface. There is so much more grip and high speed with the newly paved track."

What do you love most about racing at Road America?

BP: "Road America is such an iconic track. It's the longest track on the schedule. The length of the track makes you feel like you are actually going somewhere during each lap. You are covering a lot of distance and ground. It just feels like a proper track instead of one that is changing each year."

What is the biggest challenge at that track?

BP: "The biggest challenge is going to be getting the tires up to temperature with the new surface. Putting a lap together is so important and just one small mistake in a corner has bigger consequences here than at other tracks."

What is your favorite track food there?

BP: "I haven't had much experience with the track food, but I am looking forward to the ice cream I have heard about!"

Pedersen Fast Facts: Age 24...Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to Seattle at age 4 and is now living in Indianapolis...Began racing karts at a young age and has competed and won races in the INDY NXT by Firestone Series, British Formula 3, FR Americas Championship, F4 US Championship...Earned Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 after setting a record for the fastest qualifying lap by a rookie (233.297mph). Enjoys golf, pickleball, skiing, soccer, snowmobiling, mountain biking, dirt biking.

Past Performance at Road America: Santino Ferrucci's best finish at Road America is sixth which is where he finished in both races of the track's doubleheaders in 2020. His best start is also sixth (in the first race of the twin bill). Rookie Benjamin Pedersen's best finish at Road America is second in the INDY NXT Series in 2021. His best start of seventh came in 2022. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 8th in 1993 with Robby Gordon, and its best finish is eighth in 1991 with Mike Groff. The team did not compete in IndyCar races at Road America from 1996-2007. In the past seven races, the team’s best finish is 10th with Charlie Kimball in 2020.

Last Race: At Detroit, Ferrucci started 22nd and finished 21st. Pedersen started 19th and finished 20th.

The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America will be broadcast on Sunday on the USA Network starting at 1 pm ET. Practice and qualifying sessions for the 55-lap race will be streamed on Peacock and Indycar.Com.



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