QUALIFYING REPORT: Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 17, 2023)--Progress. Significant progress. For AJ Foyt Racing, the work behind the scenes is starting to show where it counts--on the race track.
Rookie Benjamin Pedersen advanced to the top 12 for the first time this season and posted his best qualifying run to date in the NTT INDYCAR Series. Breaking into the top 10 with his lap time of 1 minute, 41.4989 seconds (142.370 mph), he will start 10th in the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet.
Pedersen chats with his race engineer Roberto Garcia prior to qualifying.
"The No. 55 Sexton Properties Team Chevy IndyCar was really good," the 24-year-old said. "It's a good weekend so far. We struggled in the beginning but the whole team did a tremendous job to recover for qualifying today. It's the best qualifying for me in my IndyCar career, not that I've had very many, but P 10 as a rookie, and made it into the fast 12--just huge momentum for the whole team especially coming off the month of May. Very, very proud of everyone. We're just getting better and better. Everyone's working really hard and yeah, starting the race p10 and looking forward to tomorrow's race."
Santino Ferrucci also had his best qualifying run on a permanent road course this year after posting a lap time of 1 minute, 41.6314 seconds (142.184 mph) in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet. He will start 11th in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.
Ferrucci smiles prior to qualifying.
"Solid day for us at AJ Foyt Racing--10th and 11th for both cars," the Connecticut native said. "Really good result. Both cars made it and advanced into the Fast 12--for the first time in five years. Obviously, all the work is paying off and I can't wait to see what we can do tomorrow."
Ferrucci alluded to the fact that in 2018 rookie Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan qualified third and 10th respectively in the season opener at St. Petersburg, but even then, the permanent road courses were the team's Achilles heel.
For Team President Larry Foyt, today's results on the newly paved 4-mile permanent road course were gratifying.
"We were definitely pleased with the progression of our road course program," said Foyt. "We felt like coming out of the Indy GP that we had learned a lot and made some gains. And just glad that's showing; I think we have a good base for some of the tracks coming up that are similar to this one. So that's exciting for us and it's great progress."
Foyt looks over race engineer Daniele Cucchiaroni's notes as shock engineer Warren Wilson looks on.
Colton Herta won the NTT P1 Award with his lap time of 1 minute, 40.1945 seconds (144.223 mph). Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Pato O'Ward, Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi and Kyle Kirkwood.
The Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America will be broadcast on the USA Network tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.