With its old-school feel and challenging layout, Road America is one of the favorite racetracks among NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, and its atmosphere makes it special with fans, too.
It’s also been the site of several dominating and surprising moments in INDYCAR history. Here’s a look at the five Road America moments to whet the appetite for not one, but two INDYCAR races at America’s National Park of Speed.
This weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader will be televised at 5 p.m. (ET) Saturday on NBCSN and noon (ET) Sunday by NBC.
Al Unser Jr. inherited a lot of things from his father, including Al Unser’s bad luck at Road America.
The younger Unser won the Indy 500 twice, but he never won at Road America. He did come heartbreakingly close several times, only to see victory slip away one way or another.
The worst came in 1996, when Unser’s engine blew on the final lap, handing the win to Michael Andretti. It was the Andretti family’s sixth win at Road America and Michael’s third win in the decade. (You can watch the whole race in this week’s Classic Rewind).
In 1998, Dario Franchitti scored his very first INDYCAR win at Road America, becoming the first Scotsman to win an INDYCAR race since Jim Clark was victorious in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Franchitti’s win was also a breakthrough for Team Green, which won for the first time since Jacques Villeneuve won for car owner Barry Green in 1995.
An Unlikely Winner
As mentioned above, the Unsers have suffered from lousy luck at Road America.
In the very first INDYCAR race at Road America in 1982, Al Unser was well on his way to victory but ran out of fuel on his final lap of the 4-mile road course, handing the win to Forsythe Racing’s Hector Rebaque, the only other car on the lead lap.
It was Rebaque’s only INDYCAR win.
INDYCAR is back
In 2016, INDYCAR returned to Road America for the first time in nearly a decade, and Will Power held off Tony Kanaan after a late caution to score the win by just a half-second. The winner that day, though, was the crowd, which turned up for the race weekend and every event leading up to the race and was rewarded with return trips to the track by INDYCAR.
Alexander The Great
Rookie Colton Herta claimed the pole position, but that’s the only thing that Alexander Rossi didn’t do in 2019.
The Andretti Autosport driver took the lead in Turn 3 and led 54 of the next 55 laps to win the race by a whopping 20-plus seconds.