ELKHART LAKE, Wis – Where Chevrolet is quick in determining the starting lineup for Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) most would put all three Team Penske drivers and Chevy as the favorites to win this weekend’s race in Road America.
In qualifying, Chevy locked out the front row with Josef Newgarden and Will Power. That’s not too surprising as Chevy had all three Penske cars in the top five of the second practice session on Friday afternoon. See, that session you could use the Firestone Alternate tires and Chevy, most notably Team Penske, showed their might on them.
But, in the two morning practice sessions around the time of race conditions, Honda’s led the way on the speed charts. On Friday morning, Honda had four of the top five speeds and six of the top nine. In Saturday’s morning session, they were even stronger.
Honda’s had four of the top five speeds again in session No. 3 and 10 of the top 12. All these top laps were turned on the Firestone Primary tires.
In qualifying, Honda did turn up the wick even more to take the next seven starting spots behind the two Penske’s on the front row.
What this tells me is Honda has the pace on longer runs to go along with better fuel mileage. That bodes well for Sunday’s race. That’s how Scott Dixon stole a win from the four Team Penske cars in 2016. He had better pit sequences and got out front and stayed there for the rest of the way.
Right now, it looks like that could happen again.
The same thing happened in the last race at Texas. Chevy and Penske struggled with managing their tires and couldn’t go as long on fuel stops. Honda, had better tire wear and longer fuel runs allowing them to flip the script from qualifying.
Sunday’s race could be just like that. I wouldn’t count out the Honda’s on Sunday.