Three to Watch: IndyCar Veterans Likely to Shine During Road America Return

Marshall Gabell Featured, Midwest, Sprints & Midgets, Verizon IndyCar Series 0 Comments

Helio Castroneves has never won at Road America in Indy car competition, but will be looking for his first series win since 2014 on Sunday. (Chris Owens/IndyCar photo)

Helio Castroneves has never won at Road America in Indy car competition, but will be looking for his first series win since 2014 on Sunday. (Chris Owens/IndyCar photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Nine years removed from the 2007 Generac Power Weekend at Road America, the Verizon IndyCar Series will return to the 4.084-mile road course June 24-26 for the KOHLER Grand Prix, the ninth race on the series schedule.

Sebastian Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Graham Rahal are the only drivers in the paddock that have previously competed at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin circuit.

Among those are three drivers who are still winless after the opening eight races this season — Castroneves, Kanaan, and Hunter-Reay.

However, with previous experience at the challenging road course, each of them are hoping to end their winless droughts and celebrate a win at the end of the day on Sunday afternoon.

Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi/Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet)

Each time this year that four-time IndyCar Series champion Helio Castroneves has come close to breaking into victory lane, he has taken two steps back the next time out.

Castroneves, the 41-year-old Brazilian, has recorded four top five finishes — including a runner-up result at the Indianapolis Grand Prix — but has also finished outside the top 10 three times to hurt his points chances.

At Road America, however, the Team Penske veteran is hoping to recapture his magic touch and earn his first win since 2014 at Belle Isle, 36 races ago.

“It’s going to be fantastic to go back to Road America,” Castroneves said. “We haven’t raced there in a number of years, but I’m excited to get out there and see how the Hitachi Chevrolet performs. It’s a big track, but track position, as usual, will be important.”

“My Hitachi team is ready for the second half of the season. There is still quite a bit out there for us. I think it will be an exciting second half with the way the schedule is set up and we’ll see competitive racing.”

In four previous starts at Road America, Castroneves recorded two top 10 finishes, with a best effort of seventh in 2001.

Tony Kanaan (No. 10 NTT Data/Comfort Revolution Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan is so close to a podium finish this season, he can almost taste it (I know that adage is old, just go with it.)

In fact, Kanaan has recorded two fourth place results and has five more top 10s to go with them this year — but, like Castroneves, has been unable to reach the winners circle.

Kanaan is also carrying a lengthy winless drought. He has not triumphed since the 2014 season finale at Auto Club Speedway (24 races ago). On Sunday, he hopes to change that.

In five former starts at Road America, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 victor has four top 10 finishes, including two top five efforts in 1998 and 2002.

“I can’t wait to get back to Road America this weekend,” Kanaan expressed. “This is one of the best tracks in the U.S. in my opinion. I was able to test there last week with the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet and it felt really good to be back after so long.”

“The track is just so much fun to drive and definitely one of my favorites. If the attendance at our tests over the past year are any indication of the fan turnout, I think we’re in for a great crowd.”

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