ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – The final warmup practice for the KOHLER Grand Prix came off without a hitch this morning, but the bigger story may have been who wasn’t on the Road America track rather than who was.
Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon was able to complete only a single installation lap at the conclusion of the 30-minute session on the 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course after the Chip Ganassi Racing crew scrambled to resolve fuel pressure issues with the No. 9 NTT Honda.
Also, reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato sat out the practice while feeling ill.
KOHLER GRAND PRIX: Warmup practice results; Combined practice results; Race start tire selection
Of the 19 cars that turned competitive laps in the practice, Ryan Hunter-Reay – Sato’s teammate at Andretti Autosport – was fastest with a lap of 1 minute, 43.7956 seconds (139.220 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Max Chilton, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver in the No. 8 Gallagher Honda, was second at 1:44.0347 (138.900 mph).
Helio Castroneves, who won his 50th career Indy car pole position in Verizon P1 Award qualifying Saturday, was 13th quick in the No. 3 REV Group Team Penske Chevrolet (1:45.1299). Team Penske cars own the first four starting spots in this afternoon’s race, with Castroneves followed on the grid by teammates Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet), Josef Newgarden (No. 2 DeVilbiss Chevrolet) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Menards Chevrolet).
Power won the 2016 race at Road America, when Indy cars returned to the picturesque circuit that is a fan and driver favorite for the first time in nine years. The race distance has been extended by five laps or 20 miles this year, to 55 laps.
Live race coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET today on NBCSN, the NBC Sports app and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.