Race Report: Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 12, 2022) -- Sunny skies and cool temperatures made it a beautiful day for racing at picturesque Road America but the Sonsio Grand Prix turned into a tough day at the track for the AJ Foyt Racing team.
Kyle Kirkwood started 24th in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and finished 20th. He was 18th in the closing laps but on a restart with three laps to go, he was punted by Devlin DeFrancesco who had already been penalized for avoidable contact for an incident with Will Power earlier in the race.
Kyle Kirkwood poses with crew chief Didier Francesia (center) and race engineer Mike Colliver before the race. Chevy engineer Eric Westenkirchner looks on.
"We had a good strategy, everything executed properly, just didn't really have the pace," Kirkwood said afterwards. "I can't really tell you why we had the pace yesterday in the warm up and then we rolled the car out today and some things had changed. I'm not sure what but it's a disappointing finish. Given yesterday I felt like we should have been fighting for a top-10 but at least we gathered some points up this weekend and were able to finish and kept the car clean for once so that was good. We look forward to Mid-Ohio."
Dalton Kellett started 23rd and finished 23rd in the K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet. The "dual personality" car made for a long day in the office for the personable Canadian.
Dalton Kellett looks down the grid before the race.
"Overall, it was a difficult day for us," Kellett said. "The pace on blacks still seems to be an issue, the reds felt better. But all weekend we seem to be struggling with this sort of "two-problem car" which was low-speed understeer and being really twitchy and on edge in the high speed corners. And you've got some pretty fast, high commitment corners here so that's not a good characteristic to have. We really have to come up with a couple of different packages or options to try some new stuff in Mid Ohio."
Perhaps the toughest day belonged to Tatiana Calderón who learned on race morning that her race engineer Danielle Cucchiaroni had taken ill the night before and would not be in her pitbox for the race. His presence was missed as Calderón ran low on fuel and lost time in the pits getting the car restarted because of the low fuel pressure. She also incurred two pitlane speed violations which resulted in a couple of drive-through penalties in the No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet.
Tatiana Calderón smiled for our photographer before the race.
"Well it was a tough race for us in every sense," said Calderón, who finished 25th. "We sort of ran out of fuel then when we wanted to pull away in the pitstop, we had no fuel pressure. So I stalled, then we had to restart the car a couple of times to get that fuel pressure back up so we lost a lot of time there and I think I had a speeding penalty also. So had a couple drive throughs and an issue on the yellow flag. Overall, a really tough day for everyone. But I want to thank the whole team for the last three weeks--they've been flat out. So hopefully we'll have a reset the next couple of weeks and good news is we go back to Mid-Ohio where I first drove the Indy car. At least I know a little bit of the track and the feeling with this car. So hopefully we can make a big step forward."
Josef Newgarden became the Million Dollar Man with his victory today as he won the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge bonus by being the first driver to win on a street course, an oval and a road course this season. The $1 million will be split evenly with half going to his team and the other half going to his designated charities: SeriousFun Children’s Network and Wags and Walks Nashville.
Finishing second was Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson with Sonsio GP pole winner Alexander Rossi completing the podium. Rounding out the top five were Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta.
The next race on the NTT INDYCAR Series schedule is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 3. It will be broadcast on NBC starting at 12 noon ET.