Today, the NTT IndyCar Series visited Wisconsin for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America. After a caution-filled opening portion, the race was highlighted by a duel between Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi with one million dollars on the line.
Penske’s Josef Newgarden hoped to win the race and complete the million-dollar PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge. The bonus program awards its prize to the first driver able to win a race on an oval, a street circuit and a road course in a season. $500,000 is awarded to the team, and the remaining $500,000 is donated to a charity of their choice. Newgarden already won on an oval and street circuit earlier this season and qualified second for the race today.
Andretti’s Alexander Rossi was looking to continue his improvement in form after announcing his move to Arrow McLaren SP for the 2023 season before last week’s Detroit Grand Prix, where he finished second. Rossi won pole for the race, and his most recent race victory was also at Road America in 2019.
Rossi and Newgarden filed through the first few corners of the 55-lap race in starting order before the first caution was thrown later that lap. Ganassi’s Jimmie Johnson went off at turn 3 and stalled his car. Johnson was forced off by Foyt’s rookie Tatiana Calderón as he put his car on a shrinking piece of pavement.
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The caution was thrown again briefly after the restart. Indy 500 Champion Marcus Ericsson made contact with his teammate and reigning series champion Álex Palou while passing him in turn 5. Ericsson’s right-rear wheel and Palou’s left-front wheel touched, sending Palou off into the gravel trap.
On the eighth lap, Andretti’s Devlin DeFrancesco misjudged the braking point into turn 5 and punted the points leader Will Power into the outside wall. DeFrancesco was given a stop-and-go penalty for his lack of spatial awareness.
At the end of lap 15, Rossi and Newgarden both made their first pit stops. Penske was able to get Newgarden off of pit road before Rossi and into the theoretical race lead. Marcus Ericsson was also able to jump Rossi during the pit cycle, but he made a mistake that allowed Rossi to retake second place.
Newgarden seemed to have the million-dollar check in hand as Rossi couldn’t close the gap to the leading Penske driver. Though, the caution was thrown once again with eight laps to go because the McLaren of Pato O’Ward had an engine failure. The restart immediately turned into another caution as Meyer Shank’s Hélio Castroneves spun out in the last corner on the way to the start-finish line.
The final restart would see Marcus Ericsson get a run on Alexander Rossi on the start-finish straight. Rossi aggressively defended against Ericsson, but the Swede was able to pass him for second place. This all but guaranteed Josef Newgarden the victory in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America and one million dollars.
Rossi might not have snapped his win drought, but it was an impressive showing from him and Andretti Autosport. Three of the team’s four cars placed in third through fifth-place positions.
Race Result - Top 10
- Josef Newgarden
- Marcus Ericsson
- Alexander Rossi
- Romain Grosjean
- Colton Herta
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Scott McLaughlin
- Graham Rahal
- Scott Dixon
- Christian Lundgaard
Marcus Ericsson leads the points standings by 27 points over Will Power. IndyCar will return for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in three weeks.