While IndyCar lost its only traditional double-header, the Belle Isle, Detroit races, to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, three double-headers have been established to partly compensate for the deletion of not only Detroit but also the races at Barber Motorsports Park, the streets of Long Beach, Circuit of The Americas and Richmond Raceway. The events that are now scheduled to have two rounds are Road America this weekend, Iowa Speedway next week and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in September.
With the second round of the season, the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis, being held last Saturday, it means that by the time the checkered flag waves over the second Iowa race, almost all the IndyCar drivers will have competed in five races in just 15 days.
As has been IndyCar’s tradition for double-headers, the qualifying format this weekend will ditch the series’ traditional process for road and street courses – two groups in Q1, the top six of each forming the Q2 field, from which the top six graduate to Q3 for the Firestone Fast Six shootout. Instead, at Road America the positions from the Saturday morning practice session will define how the field is divided in two – even numbered and odd numbered positions – and each of these groups will get 12mins to set a time.
Simply, the fastest driver overall will earn pole and will grant ‘his’ group all the odd-numbered positions on the grid, second fastest will earn the outside front row and this group will fill out all the even-numbered positions on the grid. Given the absence of practice on Sunday, these groups will remain the same for qualifying for the second race, but the group that ran second on Saturday day will run first on Sunday.
It's an interesting arrangement but slightly alien to all those used to watching the traditional non-oval qualifying sessions. At least around a 4.014-mile track, there's a reasonable chance that drivers on a hot lap won't trip over cars on warm-up or slow-down laps.
IndyCar returned to Road America in 2016, after an eight-year hiatus. Will Power of Team Penske-Chevrolet won that first race back, and the following two years, victory went to fellow series champions Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda and then Josef Newgarden of Penske. Last year’s dominant winner was Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport-Honda.
For a preview, facts, spotters’ list and schedule for the event, click here
Races: REV Group Grand Prix of Road America – 2 rounds
Dates: Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12, 2020
Start times: 5.08pm local/Central Time on Saturday, 12.40pm local/Central Time on Sunday
Location: Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.
How can I watch practice for IndyCar?
Saturday 11.00am-12.15pm on NBC Sports Gold (live)
How can I watch qualifying for IndyCar?
Saturday, July 11, 2.15-2.45pm on NBCSN (live)
Sunday, July 12, 10.00-10.30am on NBC Sports Gold (live)
How can I watch the IndyCar races?
- Saturday, July 11, 5.00pm on NBCSN (live)
Race 2 - Sunday, July 12, 12.40pm on NBC (live)
In addition there are IndyCar Radio Network broadcasts: both REV Group Grand Prix races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the IndyCar Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT IndyCar Series practices and qualifying are available on indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the IndyCar Mobile app, with qualifying also airing on Sirius 211 and XM 205.
For spotter’s guides and entry lists (yes, there are two of each!), as well as facts and figures for IndyCar’s races at Road America - click here