IndyCar is gearing up for the final oval event of the campaign this weekend, but having skipped the ovals this season, is Romain Grosjean racing this weekend at Gateway?
Easing in to oval running
Having been dumped by the Haas Formula One team at the end of 2020, Romain Grosjean’s attention quickly switched to IndyCar.
The nine-time podium finisher was quickly able to secure a part-time seat at Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing in the #51.
Grosjean’s deal for the #51 seat was originally just for street and road courses.
The Frenchman did not want to risk oval racing without prior experience.
“If I was 25 and had no children I would do the whole season, no doubt,” he explained in February.
“But I am the father of three children, and for two minutes and 45 seconds in Bahrain I know they thought they had lost their father.
“So if I was younger, yes, I would do it all and accept that all motorsport involves risks.
“But being a parent, I can’t put my family through that again , and in Indy you can have big accidents.”
Positive test means debut
Grosjean recently conducted a test session at Gateway to prep him for oval running.
He committed to running the IndyCar race at Gateway, to be held this weekend, being happy after clocking up 166 laps of the short oval.
He will once again drive the #51 machine, having finished second last time out on the Indianapolis road course.
When is the race?
The entire event, including practice and qualifying will be held on August 21st at the track just outside St Louis, Missouri.
Practice kicks off at 13:15pm local time, which is 19:15pm in the UK.
Qualifying is planned for 17:00pm local time (23:00pm) UK.
The green flag will drop at 20:40pm local time (02:40am Sunday in the UK).
The race will be run over 260 laps, with live coverage on NBC in the United States and Sky Sports F1 in the UK.
Who is leading the standings?
With just four rounds remaining in the 2021 season, Chip Ganassi’s Alex Palou sits atop the standings.
The Spaniard has 415 points, but saw his lead cut after a DNF at Indianapolis.
There are just five drivers remaining with realistic title ambitions.
Pato O’Ward (394 points) leads the chase behind Palou, with the reigning champion Scott Dixon sitting on 381.
Both Josef Newgarden (360) and ex-Sauber F1 driver Marcus Ericsson (353) are keeping touch in the title race.