Franchitti Record is Safe

Dario Franchitti set the lap record at Road America of 1:39.866 (145.924 mph) in 2000. For comparison, last year Will Power clinched Pole Position with a time of 1:42.2105 (141.379 mph).

If you weren’t around “back in the day” here are a couple of factors to consider about the CART series in 2000.

The 2.65L twin turbo V-8 was being stressed under heavy development by four manufactures, Honda, Toyota, Cosworth and Mercedes-Benz. Engine limitations were only in the form of how many the manufactures brought to the track. A race weekend often started with the practice engine, change to a qualifying engine, then one more change to a race engine.

Chassis were spec only in dimension and regulation. Reynard, Lola and Swift were all in the game developing their own chassis. Additionally during that timeframe each chassis had a Superspeedway, short oval and road course set-up. There was also a Road America set-up used by some times which is best described as a road course package crossed with a speedway to capitalize on the long straightaways.

Firestone tires were on all cars across the board.

Indycar will not break the track record at Road America this year, but don’t be surprised at a Pole Position of 1:41.900. If the 2018 aero kit performs as well as it looks, a time 1:41.500 can be expected.

Respect where the series came from and look forward to where it’s going.

MotoAmerica at Road America

MotoAmerica Road AmericaThe MotoAmerica series races this weekend, June 2-4 at Road America. The Dunlop Championship at Road America is the fourth stop of the 2017 season.

Five classes will be on track over the three days:

  • Motul Superbike Class – The showcase division featuring highly tuned, production-based 1000cc motorcycles.
  • Bazzaz Superstock 1000 – Compete alongside Superbike, but feature mostly stock, production-based 1000cc motorcycles.
  • Supersport – The proving ground for young talent this class features highly tuned, production-based 600cc motorcycles.
  • Super stock 600 – Compete alongside Supersport, but feature mostly stock, production-based 600cc motorcycles.
  • KTM RC Cup – This is a dedicated youth-development championship where riders compete on identical KTM RC 390 motorcycles.

Practice and first qualifying sessions take place on Friday and two full days of racing across the various classes will be held on both Saturday and Sunday. For detailed race times and a full event schedule check out

Gates open to the public each day at 7 a.m., and admission is $30 Friday, $45 Saturday and $45 Sunday. Anyone 16 years old and under are free with a paying adult. All races will run rain or shine.

Road America 2017 Schedule

As the 2016 season continues with strong events Road America has announced their 2017 season schedule.

May 19-21 –  SVRA Spring Vintage Weekend

June 2-4 – MotoAmerica SuperBike Doubleheader

June 9-11 – AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Classic and the Rockerbox Motofest®

June 15-18 – heWeatherTech® Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints®

June 22-25 – Verizon INDYCAR Series and Pirelli World Challenge

July 20-23 – WeatherTech® International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by HAWK

August 3-6 – IMSA Continental Sports Car Challenge and WeatherTech® SportsCar Championship

August 25-27 – NASCAR XFINITY Series

September 15-17 – Ariens Art on Wheels Weekend featuring VSCDA Elkhart Lake Vintage

ChampCar at Road America – 2006

After a one-year absence ChampCar was back at Road America with Speedy Dan Clarke taking the field to the green flag. A 42 minute red flag took place when Katherine Legge had a rear wing fail sending her car into the wall at The Kink. She escaped without major injury but her freshly painted Ford Cares Warriors in Pink was destroyed. The all American kid A.J. Allmendinger took the win for Forsythe Racing.

The next generation of ChampCar Panoz DP01 chassis made some demonstration laps complete with donuts complements of Roberto Moreno.

Pole Position: Dan Clarke

Winning Driver: A.J. Allmendinger

Winning Team: Forsythe Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Lola/Ford-Cosworth

Chassis in Series: 1 (Lola)

Engines in Series: 1 (Ford-Cosworth)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

Photo credit: Scott Rohloff


ChampCar at Road America – 2004

The Champcar race at Road America not only had a surprise winner with Alex Tagliani who played strategy to take the win but the first “Tour de Road America” charity bike ride around the circuit took place. Proceeds went to the Livestrong Foundation. Over half the ChampCar drivers were apart of the event.

Unconfirmed reports include Tommy Kendall taking part in the ride. By the time he reached Turn 5 on the first lap he opted to take the runoff and call it a day.

Pole Position: Sebastien Bourdais

Fastest Lap: Bruno Junqueira

Winning Driver: Alex Tagliani

Winning Team: Johnson Controls Rocketsports Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Lola/Ford-Cosworth

Chassis in Series: 1 (Lola)

Engines in Series:  1 (Ford-Cosworth)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

Photo Credit: Scott Rohloff and John Vatne

ChampCar at Road America – 2003

The 2003 season was the official rise of ChampCar as CART went bankrupt and it’s assets was put up for legal dispersal. For many it became personal as Tony George made public statements about putting nails in CART’s coffin the previous season.

This was also the start of both ChampCar and IndyCar going down the road to one engine and one chassis supplier.

A rule change was put in place in ChampCar where the driver’s weight was included in the weight of the car in an attempt to truly level the playing field and no longer penalize larger drivers.

Pole Position: Bruno Junqueira

Fastest Lap: Sebastien Bourdais

Winning Driver: Bruno Junqueira

Winning Team: Newman/Haas

Winning Chassis and Engine: Lola/Ford Cosworth

Chassis in Series: 2 (Lola, Reynard)

Engines in Series:  1 (Ford Cosworth)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

CART at Road America – 2002

The 2002 season was about Cristiano da Matta’s tour de force in the CART series. Da Matta’s 2002 championship season in the CART series lead to a career move to drive for the Toyota Formula One team in 2003.

Pole Position: Bruno Junqueira

Winning Driver: Cristiano da Matta

Winning Team: Nawman/Haas Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Lola/Toyota

Chassis in Series: 2 (Lola, Reynard)

Engines in Series: 3 (Ford-Cosworth, Honda, Toyata)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

CART at Road America – 2001

CART 2001 Memo GidleyIn a weekend of mixed weather conditions Bruno Junqueira took his first CART win at Road America, round 14 of the season. His teammate Memo Gidley who was joined Target/Chip Ganassi in round 8 had a tough race. While showing great pace Gidley lost control after a wheel crossed a wet curb and crashed head on into the Billy Mitchell Bridge splitting the tub of the car in two. The bridge was removed after the 2006 season when a tunnel was created to cross under the track.

The Phoenix engine, a reworked version of the Mercedes-Benz IC108F only made four races with Max Wilson driving for Arciero-Brook Racing After missing a couple of races the team returned under the control of Larry Blair and used Ford Cosworth engines.

Pole Position: Kenny Brack

Fastest Lap: Bruno Junqueira

Winning Driver: Bruno Junqueira

Winning Team: Target/Chip Ganassi Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Lola/Toyota

Chassis in Series: 2 (Lola,Reynard)

Engines in Series:  4 (Ford Cosworth, Honda, Phoenix, Toyota,)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

CART at Road America – 2000

The Reynard 2KI chassis was the chassis of choice winning the majority of races during the 2000 season including the race at Road America. The race was caution free and fuel economy became a major factor with teams limited to small pit windows due to the four-mile length of the circuit and long fuel consuming straightaways.

Penske Racing officially stopped developing there own chassis and after evaluating both the Lola and Reynard chassis during the 1999 season. The team selected the Reynard 2KI for the 2000 season. Engineering resources promptly started to refine the Reynard developing custom parts to continue maintaining the Penske advantage.

Goodyear withdrew from the series at the end of the 1999 season leaving Firestone as the only tire manufacture.

Pole Position: Dario Franchitti

Fastest Lap: Paul Tracy

Winning Driver: Paul Tracy

Winning Team: Team Green

Winning Chassis and Engine: Reynard/Honda

Chassis in Series: 3 (Reynard, Lola, Swift)

Engines in Series:  4 (Ford Cosworth, Honda, Mercedes, Toyota,)

Tires in Series: 1 (Firestone)

CART at Road America – 1999

The last time IndyCar raced at Road America it was under the ChampCar series ten years ago in 2006. Stepping back a further seven years it was the CART series as open wheel racing was at that time divided between CART and the IRL. With unification in 2007, at last the IndyCar series is headed back to Road America for the Kohler Grand Prix on June 26.

The Mecca of Speed did not launch until 2006 but we have been in attendance at a multitude of races at Road America, first as fans starting back in 1989. The camera gear and vantage locations as a spectator were a bit more challenging, but a good sniper can still get a shot off with a bit of preparation. The image quality may not be as sharp as what we currently produce, but it should help bring back some memories.

You can pull out your Autocourse for the full race review, or check YouTube for a replay while quick race stats are listed below. For the most accurate representation of the equipment used each season, the listings will reflect the series running at the Road America at the time.

Pole Position: Michael Andretti

Fastest Lap: Hélio Castroneves

Winning Driver: Christian Fittipaldi

Winning Team: Newman/Haas Racing

Winning Chassis and Engine: Swift / Ford-Cosworth

Chassis in Series: 5 (Penske, Lola, Reynard, Swift, Eagle)

Engines in Series:  4 (Mercedes, Honda, Ford, Toyota)

Tires in Series: 2 (Goodyear, Firestone)