Road America Sunday Wrap-Up

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If last weekend at Belle Isle served as redemption for last year’s race for Will Power, the same could be said for today’s race at Road America for Josef Newgarden. If you recall, Josef Newgarden dominated last year’s race at Road America, before his gearbox failed on a late re-start. He finished twenty-first.

Today, Newgarden did not dominate like he did last year, yet his still led almost half of the laps Newgarden led twenty-six of the fifty-five laps, compared to sixteen led by pole-sitter Alexander Rossi.

Unlike last year when the late restart was Newgarden’s curse; today it served him well. After Pato O’Ward went off course in Canada Corner on Lap 48; Helio Castroneves spun on the ensuing restart on Lap 51. With three laps to go on the final restart, Newgarden led, with Alexander Rossi and Marcus Ericsson running second and third.

I’m not sure if it was a great restart on Newgarden’s part, or a poor one on Rossi’s part. Newgarden absolutely took off and left Rossi behind. Suddenly, Ericsson came up even with Rossi and was able to make the pass. Rossi was then under attack from his teammates, Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta. Rossi was able to hold them off and hold on to third place, while Ericsson finished second to Newgarden. (Photos by Susan Phillips)

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By winning today’s race at Road America, that means Newgarden has now won at an oval (Texas), a temporary street circuit (Long Beach) and a natural terrain road course (Road America). That makes him the winner of the PeoppleReady Force for Good Challenge, paying Newgarden $1 Million, half of which he keeps, the other half he shares with charities of his choice.

In the post-race press conference, Newgarden said he had actually forgotten about the challenge. He described it as a nice bonus, but it doesn’t add any more motivation to win a race.

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That will do it for us for today. The Radical Cup cars are running another one of their races. Susan and I are going to ride around a little bit more on the golf cart before turning it in and closing the book on another fun weekend at one of our favorite places in the world – America’s National Park for Speed, Road America.

A special tip of the hat for Susan. She soldiered through and stuck it out this weekend. She is tired, but describes it as a “good tired”. We will get her back home, get her rested up and let her get her strength back. We will take the next few races off before closing out our in-person racing season at the IMS road course, the Music City Grand Prix and then make Gateway our finale. Hopefully, she’ll be close to 100% by then.

Thanks for following along this weekend. I will still have my usual Random Thoughts  post on here on Monday. Please check back then.

George Phillips

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