Hitting the Apex: XPEL Grand Prix at Road America

IndyCar returns to Road America! ATRL’s Eline Luna takes a look at XPEL Grand Prix at Road America this weekend.

This weekend IndyCar continues their season at Road America. At a little over 4 miles, Road America marks the longest track they race on this season. The track was established in 1955 and is located near Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin.

In the early 1950s, street races would be held around Elkhart Lake. When the state legislature banned racing on public roads, Clif Tufte organized a group of local, influential citizens and leaders of the SCAA (Sports Car Club of America) who then developed plans to build a permanent race course around the area.

This dream became a reality in 1955 and the track layout has stayed the same since it was made. This is a rarity on modern race tracks and also gives the track an old-school vibe, loved by drivers and fans alike

IndyCar has raced at the track since 1982 but stopped racing there in 2003 due to legal disputes and financial issues. Since 2016, the race has been a permanent fixture on the calendar to rousing success.

The track is known for being one of the fastest road racing circuits. It has 14 turns and a lot of elevation changes as it was built on the hills of Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine. 

Karl Zemlin/Penske Entertainment

 

Before the race in 2023, the track was repaved for the first time since 1995. While this was expected to be an improvement it caused a debate among the drivers. While some praised the smoothness of the 14-turn track others complained about the lack of grip off the racing line. What did become clear was that the racing was good. There were 444 on-track passes with 386 of them for position. This meant a new record for the series at this track.

Track Layout for 2023:

Championship Fight

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon leads the championship by 18 points over his teammate Álex Palou. Palou finished 16th last weekend at Detroit which saw his first finish outside of the top 10 since Portland in September 2022. Team Penske’s Will Power is in third place, 13 points behind Palou.

Álex Palou, 2023 winner (Travis Hinkle/Penske Entertainment)

Álex Palou has won two of the past three races at Road America and is the favorite again this weekend despite a disappointing race at Detroit. 

Driver Changes

Luca Ghiotto returns to Dale Coyne Racing for the races at Road America and Laguna Seca. He made his IndyCar debut at Barber earlier this season where he finished 21st. He is one of five drivers to have driven the #51 this season.

Hélio Castroneves continues with Meyer Shank Racing replacing Tom Blomqvist in the #66.

Race Info:

  • Race Length: 55 laps | 220.55 Miles
  • Turns: 14
  • Track Length: 4.048 miles (6.515 km)
  • Most Wins: Mario Andretti (3) Emerson Fittipaldi (3) & Michael Andretti (3)
  • Race Lap Record: 1:41.874 (Alex Zanardi, CART)

Past Winners in Road America

  • 2023: Álex Palou
  • 2022: Josef Newgarden
  • 2021: Alex Palou
  • 2020 (1): Scott Dixon 2020 (2): Felix Rosenqvist

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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