The 2021 edition of the REV Group Grand Prix was 55 laps on the 14-turn, 4.014-mile Road America road course totaling 222.77 miles. The pit window was 13–14 laps under green-flag conditions.
The ambient temperature prior to the green flag was 67 degrees with 58% relative humidity and cloudy skies. The track temperature was 89 degrees according to Firestone engineers.
Josef Newgarden led the field to the green flag and would go on to lead 32 of the 55 laps.
Four cautions slowed the action:
Lap 16: Jimmie Johnson spun the No. 48 Honda in Turn 7.
Lap 22: Marcus Ericsson spun the No. 8 Honda in Turn 3.
Lap 34: Kevin Magnussen pulled the No. 7 Chevrolet off course in Turn 7 with an apparent mechanical issue.
Lap 51: Ed Jones spun the No. 18 Honda off course in Turn 12.
On the final restart on Lap 54, Newgarden led at start-finish but was passed by Alex Palou in Turn 1. Newgarden later reported that he was unable to upshift from fifth to sixth gear which allowed Palou to easily pass.
Palou led the final two laps, bringing his laps led total to five.
Palou took the checkered flag with a 1.9106-second margin of victory over Colton Herta. Will Power, Scott Dixon and Romain Grosjean completed the top five. With his mechanical issue, Newgarden dropped to 21st and was the last car on the lead lap.
The victory marked Palou's second of 2021 and the second of his NTT IndyCar Series career. It is the fourth victory for Chip Ganassi Racing this year, after Palou at Barber Motorsports Park, Dixon at Texas Motor Speedway and Ericsson at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Palou reclaimed the points lead with his Road America victory.
Next up for the series is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 4. LIve coverage begins on NBC at noon EDT.
On track in cooler temperatures than the sweltering first practice on Friday afternoon, Saturday's Practice 1 was 45-minutes in duration and, with Firestone Firehawk alternate tires in use, helped teams prepare for knockout qualifying at Road America.
Practice was slowed by a single red flag when, at the nine-minute mark, the No. 52 Honda of Cody Ware stopped on course in Turn 12. Ware was penalized five minutes for causing a red flag in practice in violation of Rule 184.108.40.206.1.
A short red, practice resumed after a four-minute pause and continued uninterrupted until the checkered flag.
As noted by driver Felix Rosenqvist on Twitter, the top eight in Practice 2 each represented a different team: Team Penske, Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Arrow McLaren SP and AJ Foyt Racing.
The fastest lap belonged to Josef Newgarden whose 1:45.3399 was 0.1331 seconds clear of second-fastest Colton Herta. Seven-tenths of a second separated the top 10 and 3.9 seconds was the gap between first and 25th.
Scott Dixon, who ended the session with the 22nd-fastest lap, lost most of his practice time when he hit debris in the carousel which damaged the underside of his car. Despite worries that the damage would prevent Dixon from getting any laps on alternate tires, the No. 9 Honda team hustled to get him back out allowing him to turn one complete lap on reds.
The first practice session of the Road America race weekend was 45 minutes in duration and featured Romain Grosjean as the fastest driver. His 1:47.6781 was 0.1243 seconds clear of second-fastest Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The session concluded without incident in considerably warmer temperatures than the forecast for the remainder of the weekend. Visit the Forecast tab of the Race Report for the latest Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin weather information.
200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Tires Available per Entry
Seven sets primary, four sets alternate for use during the race weekend. One additional set of primary tires may be used by teams fielding a rookie driver. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of new (sticker) alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.
— 2020 Race 2: Felix Rosenqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing
— 2020 Race 1: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
— 2019: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
— 2018: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
— 2017: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
— 2016: Will Power, Team Penske
Last Six Poles
— 2020 Race 2: Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP (1:44.8971)
— 2020 Race 1: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (1:45.5191)
— 2019: Colton Herta, Harding Steinbrenner Racing (1:42.9920)
— 2018: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (1:43.2026)
— 2017: Helio Castroneves, Team Penske (1:41.3007)
— 2016: Will Power, Team Penske (1:42.2105)
Qualifying Lap Record
1:39.866, 145.924 mph (Dario Franchitti of Team Green on Aug. 19, 2000)