Chip Ganassi Racing is still the team to beat in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, even if Scott Dixon isn’t in contention for the win.
Felix Rosenqvist ended Dixon’s undefeated 2020 by outdueling Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward to take Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader on Sunday at Road America.
The weekend featured new faces on the podium in O’Ward and Dale Coyne Racing’s Alex Palou and two veterans with their best finishes of the season in Saturday's runner-up Will Power and Sunday’s third-place finisher Alexander Rossi.
Here are two things learned from REV Group Grand Prix Doubleheader:
Consistency is Still Key
Dixon has won three of the first four races of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, but the most consistent driver over the first four races might be 20-year-old Colton Herta.
The second-year driver for Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport is the only driver to finish in the top seven in all four races this year and has a string of three-straight top-five finishes after coming home fifth in Race 1 and in Race 2.
Herta is second in the point standings for the second time in his young career – he also was second in points after scoring his first win in 2019 at Circuit of the Americas.
“We should’ve been closer up to the front, but we made a couple of wrong calls,” Herta said. “Unfortunately, that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m happy with fifth and a nice amount of points for us and for Honda. Happy to be going into Iowa’s doubleheader weekend in second place (in the championship).”
O’Ward also has found some consistency in his first full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
The Mexican, who won the 2018 Indy Lights title before racing in three different series around the globe in 2019, has finishes of eighth, eighth and second in his last three races, along with his first career NTT P1 Award, and sits a career-best fourth in the standings.
“We’re here,” O’Ward said. “We got some good points this weekend. We like running up front, and I think we showed we have everything to do it.”
Bork! Bork! Bork!
With his win in Race 2 at Road America, Rosenqvist became the first Swede to win an INDYCAR race since Kenny Brack won in Mexico City in 2002.
Coincidentally, Brack – the 1998 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner – won that race driving a car for Chip Ganassi.
But Rosenqvist was quick to point out the accomplishment of his countryman and teammate Marcus Ericsson, who came home fourth after starting 16th.
“It was probably Marcus’ best race, so it’s definitely good day for us Swedes,” Rosenqvist said. “Obviously, for the team, as well. As a team, we've just been strong every race.
“I don't see why we won't get stronger. We're still learning a lot of things about this new concept of a car with the Aeroscreen, mainly. I think if we can improve our qualifying a little bit, we'll be really hard to beat for the rest of the season.”