Road America weekend, Thursday and Friday notes

Photo: IndyCar

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Lots to catch up on from Road America which has two full days in the books – Thursday and Friday – as well as a setup day on Wednesday.

So, in some short order, here’s an attempt to recap of what’s happening, by series on the KOHLER Grand Prix weekend:


  • Graham Rahal’s electronic woes this morning were related to an antenna issue from supplier Cosworth. Rahal, who led the Friday times in the No. 15 Gehl/D-A Lubricant Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing despite losing the track time and the extra set of Firestone tires, said afterwards, “An antenna was faulty… it fried our logger boxes. We tried everything we could. Lately everything that’s can go wrong for our team has.”
  • Rahal and Will Power, who were 1-2 in the final session, didn’t think times were that further off the projections despite only being in the 1:43 bracket. The track record is a 1:39.866 time by Dario Franchitti set in 2000, while the most recent pole is a 1:41.535 by Sebastien Bourdais in 2007. “I think it’s the temperatures more than anything. It gets breezy,” Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, explained afterwards. “Otherwise I would have us to be expected quicker than what we are. I did reds on a tire test, (4)3.3, it is faster than that.” Added Rahal: “The test I did 2.8. It should be a little quicker tomorrow. There’s so many different series, different rubber. The first running I did in free practice one, it felt slippery compared to last week.”
  • Simon Pagenaud, Carlos Munoz and Jack Hawksworth ended third, fourth and fifth on the combined timesheets after being 1-2-3 in the morning session.
  • Munoz (fourth), Max Chilton (eighth), Takuma Sato (13th) and Mikhail Aleshin (19th) had respectable outings in their first full days on the weekend, their first at Road America.
  • Aleshin, Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais all met the media Friday afternoon to reflect on their weeks since racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A fourth driver, NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell, also was at Le Mans but not present during this session.
  • “Josef, The IndyCar Driver” was properly launched Friday at the Paddock Shop and fan engagement center at Road America. Josef Newgarden and the author/illustrator Chris Workman were there to sign autographs, Newgarden fighting on valiantly despite his hand injury and with a brace on his right hand.
  • The other event of the day was a three-person Verizon “Lunch with Legends” panel featuring Michael Andretti, Juan Pablo Montoya and NBCSN IndyCar analyst Paul Tracy, in a panel discussion about Road America memories hosted by NBCSN contributor Robin Miller.
  • Conor Daly’s primary chassis this weekend is the one used by Pippa Mann at the Indianapolis 500. Daly had used Bryan Clauson’s at Texas before his accident there, and his backup tub this weekend was his primary car from the Indianapolis 500, since repaired.


  • Veach. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
    Veach. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

    Zach Veach scored his fifth career Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires pole position on Friday driving the No. 5 Belardi Auto Racing Dallara IL-15 Mazda. He scored four poles in 2014 with Andretti Autosport. Santiago Urrutia qualified second with Ed Jones and Dean Stoneman, first and second in points, third and fifth on the grid. Series debutantes Garett Grist and James French qualified eighth and 12th in the 14-car field.

  • Veach is also doing IndyCar Radio coverage this weekend as an IndyCar analyst on the IMS Radio Network for Saturday and Sunday’s qualifying and race sessions. He also has a new hat this weekend.
  • French, who debuts in the No. 45 Belardi car this weekend, could reappear in Indy Lights later this year but for the moment is only confirmed for this weekend. As it is, he’s in the middle of an eight weeks in a row stretch of racing; he resumes in his usual Performance Tech Motorsports Prototype Challenge Oreca FLM09 car the next two weeks at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
  • Grist went through usual setup changes in his big step up from Pro Mazda into Indy Lights. The Team Pelfrey team hasn’t tested here, which makes the young Canadian’s eighth place on the grid an impressive achievement.
  • In the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, local driver Aaron Telitz out of Birchwood, Wis. has the pole for Saturday’s first race of the weekend. Jake Parsons starts second ahead of Nico Jamin, with points leader and erstwhile dominant driver this year Pato O’Ward starts P5. TJ Fischer starts P7 for his series debut.
  • In Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, it’s Anthony Martin on pole from Victor Franzoni and Parker Thompson. Franzoni puts ArmsUp Motorsports in second on the grid and the Sheboygan Falls-based team is one of two Wisconsin teams competing here this weekend. Pabst Racing (Oconomowoc) has its cars fourth, fifth and seventh with Jordan Lloyd, Garth Rickards and Yufeng Luo. Jordan Cane, in his first race for Cape, starts sixth. Max Hanratty, a Wisconsin driver, starts a respectable 13th in the 24-car field for ArmsUp.


  • Late add to the weekend Dion von Moltke, one of Audi’s most experienced drivers in North America, took the new Audi R8 LMS to the top of practice in the GT/GTA/GT Cup classes. Von Moltke was listed incorrectly as a GTA driver on the timesheets in the No. 23 M1 Racing he and Walt Bowlin are scheduled to share this weekend, but he is expected to be classified as a GT driver for the remainder of the weekend. James Davison, Ryan Eversley, Johnny O’Connell and Patrick Long completed the top five.
  • GTS has had practice and qualifying take place thus far. Max Riddle led the opening practice for TRG-AMR. More to come later.
  • O'Gorman, Rivera, Bickers. Photo: PWC
    O’Gorman, Rivera, Bickers. Photo: PWC

    The TC/TCA/TCB ranks race twice this weekend. In Thursday’s race one (pictured right), Tony Rivera won overall and in TC in a Nissan 370Z for Brass Monkey Racing. The win is his fifth straight at Road America, having won GT in 2009 and all three TC races last year. Meanwhile Joey Bickers (TCA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, Atlanta Motorsports Group) and Tom O’Gorman (TCB, Honda Fit, Black Armor Helmets) took their first series wins respectively. O’Gorman’s win came at the expense of hard-luck runner-up P.J. Groenke, who looked poised to secure his first series win.


From the aforementioned events mentioned in the IndyCar subsection, the Dixon/Aleshin/Bourdais availability (look out for a separate Aleshin/Bourdais video this weekend on, the Newgarden book signing and the “Lunch with Legends” event.

Here’s more from around the track today:

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”