Step One Ambassadors encounter challenges at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Romain Grosjean and Chandler Smith, Step One ambassadors, both competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with IndyCar and NASCAR Xfinity, respectively. Each driver encountered unique sets of obstacles over the weekend, yet neither let up in their pursuit of the best on-track result possible.
Romain Grosjean kicked off his outing in Indiana with a strong P6 in Friday’s IndyCar qualifying. Saturday’s race start was tricky, with Romain getting caught up in the melee of a multi-car incident, shuffling him down the order. Luckily, however, he was able to continue in the Grand Prix. The race was marked by only one caution period six laps in length across its 85-lap duration. The Andretti Autosport driver was relentless in the pursuit to move back up the field, with his car possessing strong pace as demonstrated by Friday’s efforts. Lap after lap he dug deep, attempting to bring his No. 28 machinery forward to gain more points. Unfortunately, however, on the last lap, his efforts were thwarted by a mechanical issue that relegated the Swiss-French driver to a P18 finish.
Chandler Smith encountered mixed weather conditions during his time on track in Indiana, qualifying 18th for Saturday’s race on a drying track. A bold strategy call during a caution in the opening stage meant the Kaulig Racing driver pitted for slick tires before the race restart, ultimately propelling him up the field as he was able to fly around the fast-drying road course at a quick pace compared to the rest of the field. He earned stage points in the first stage as well as the second, where he had multiple on-track battles with cars around him with just minor contact as a result and a seventh-place second-stage finish. The No.16 car stayed out during a caution period that saw some cars going down the pit road. Unfortunately, on the restart lap, Smith and his teammate were both hit hard by a car behind, resulting in extensive damage and requiring a pit stop for repairs. The Chevy was unable to maintain position on the lead lap, mandating additional repairs in the pit lane before Smith ultimately was required to retire the car in the garage with several laps remaining due to a suspension issue, classifying him with a P34 finish.
Chandler Smith will hit the track at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York with NASCAR Xfinity this weekend.