Race Weekend Central

2022 IndyCar Sonsio Grand Prix Preview

The plains of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will once again roar to life on Sunday, June 12 when the green flag falls on the 2022 Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.

Last year’s trip saw eventual champion Alex Palou take his second win of the 2021 season after a gearbox failure sidelined Josef Newgarden.

Newgarden looked set to take the win last year, leading Palou to the green flag on the race’s final restart with two laps to go. But once the field roared toward turn 1, Newgarden’s No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet refused to grab sixth gear.

Newgarden tried shifting down and back up to the higher gears to kick his car into line, to no avail. He wound up stuck in first gear and was left to finish 21st as the final car on the lead lap.

Previous Road America winners present in the field will include: Palou, Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist. The Sonsio Grand Prix will mark the final race before the season reaches its halfway point at Mid-Ohio on July 3.

Who has momentum?

Power will head to the green flag as the most consistent competitor in the field. Barring a 15th-place run in the Indianapolis 500, Power has finished fourth or better in every race this year, including a win last week in Detroit paired with two third-place finishes in St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis Road Course.

Detroit saw a welcome and needed return to form for Rossi, whose last career win came in absolutely dominant fashion around Road America in 2019. Rossi finished nearly 30 seconds ahead of Power that day. Last week’s runner-up performance in Detroit – just after Rossi revealed his 2023 move to Arrow McLaren SP – makes him one to watch through the weekend.

Likewise, Scott Dixon has been quietly strong on road courses this season. While the six-time champion has yet to catch his first win on the year, his results around road and street courses (four top 10s) are better and more consistent than the likes of Scott McLaughlin and Colton Herta, who have both managed to find victory lane already. With victories here in both 2017 and 2020, Dixon is a strong candidate to make it three wins this weekend.

Andretti is struggling

Setting Rossi’s display at Detroit aside, 2022 has been a year to groan over for Andretti Autosport to this point. Rossi’s best finish prior to Detroit was fifth in the Indy 500. Romain Grosjean’s sophomore campaign in IndyCar, while yielding a best result of second at Long Beach, comes with a mediocre average finish of 15th over seven races.

Despite his win at the Indianapolis Road Course, Herta sits 11th in points, mostly owing to early retirements. Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco’s season has only seen two top-20 finishes, earning a best run of 17th.

Andretti’s silver lining is the man who brought them their last Road America win is still behind the wheel of the No. 27 Honda. Likewise, Grosjean scored a fifth place in his first attempt around the course in 2021. While all is not lost, the show must get back on track for the Andretti squad before a shot at the 2022 title slips away.

Simona is Back

Veteran Simona de Silvestro will return to the IndyCar paddock this weekend, the first of three races the Swiss driver has agreed to run for Paretta Autosport. De Silvestro currently has 69 IndyCar starts under her belt, dating back to Sao Paolo in 2010, posting a career-best finish of second place (Houston 2013).

Rokit/AJ Foyt Racing’s Tatiana Calderon is currently set to contest 12 events this season, with de Silvestro inked for three races. It makes 2022 the most contested season for women since 2015, when de Silvestro and Pippa Mann made 10 starts over eight different races.

Neither Calderon nor de Silvestro have previously tackled Road America in IndyCar competition.

Prediction

Scott Dixon will take his third Road America win on Sunday. Consistency has been on Dixon’s side this year and the Iceman is certainly hungry for a victory after having this year’s Indy 500 slip through his hands. Palou, last year’s Road America winner, won’t be far behind his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate as the defending champ also seeks his first win of the season.

Coverage

The 2022 Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America will take place Sunday, June 12 with television coverage provided by NBC. The green flag is set to fly at 12:55 p.m. ET.

Follow @AlexMGintz

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About the author

Open-wheel Contributor at | alexmgintz@gmail.com

Alex joined Frontstretch in March of 2021 and currently serves as an Open-wheel Contributor with a focus on IndyCar and Formula 1. Alongside writing for Frontstretch he also pursues his passions in international affairs and teaching English as a second language.

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