Grosjean to make 50th IndyCar career start at Barber Motorsports Park

In his third full-time campaign in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Romain Grosjean is within reach of achieving a milestone start. When he takes the green flag in this weekend’s Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, the driver of the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Dallara-Chevrolet will make his 50th career start in the IndyCar circuit.  

Grosjean, who was born in Geneva, Switzerland, but competes under the French flag, made his inaugural presence in the IndyCar circuit at Barber Motorsports Park in April 2021. He was coming off a 10-year campaign in Formula One, where he had recorded 10 podium results and 391 points while competing for Lotus and Haas F1 teams, and had survived a harrowing opening lap accident at Bahrain International Circuit during the Bahrain Grand Prix. The incident ended his F1 career and led him to transition to IndyCar competition.

Piloting the No. 51 Dallara-Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing in a part-time campaign, Grosjean started seventh and finished 10th in his IndyCar debut. After finishing 13th during his second series start at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Grosjean earned the spotlight during his third series start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the GMR Grand Prix in May, where he achieved his maiden pole position and proceeded to lead a race-high 44 laps before settling in a career-best runner-up spot behind Rinus VeeKay.

Grosjean proceeded to finish in the top seven twice during his next five starts before he achieved both his second runner-up result and second podium of the season at Indianapolis during the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix in August. Three races later, he achieved his third podium result of the season and the third of his career, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after carving his way from starting 13th. He would then make his 13th and final IndyCar start of the year in the season-finale Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach at the Streets of Long Beach, California, where he finished 24th after being involved in a late accident. Making 13 starts in total throughout the 2021 season, Grosjean settled in 15th place in the final driver’s standings with 272 points.

Amid his strong performances throughout the 2021 season, Grosjean was recruited by Andretti Global to pilot the No. 28 Dallara-Honda on a full-time basis for the 2022 IndyCar season, replacing the 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. He began the season by finishing fifth at the Streets of St. Petersburg in February before claiming his first podium result of the season in the form of a second-place finish at the Streets of Long Beach event two races later. Grosjean finished no higher than seventh during his next four starts before managing a top-five finish in the form of a fourth-place run at Road America in June.

He ended up in 31st place during his first Indianapolis 500 start in May after being involved in an accident just past the halfway mark. He would then proceed to record two top-10 results during the following eight events on the schedule before finishing in seventh place in the finale at Laguna Seca. With an average-finishing result of 13.7, one spot lower than 12.7 during the 2021 season, Grosjean concluded his sophomore IndyCar season in 13th place in the final standings and with a career-high 328 points. 

Returning for a second IndyCar season with Andretti Global in 2023, Grosjean captured the pole position for the season-opening event at the Streets of St. Petersburg. Despite leading 31 laps, however, he ended up in 18th place in the final running order after being involved in a late accident with Scott McLaughlin, whom he was battling for the victory. After being involved in a second consecutive accident during the following event at Texas Motor Speedway while battling for a top-five spot with two laps remaining, Grosjean rallied by notching back-to-back runner-up results and podiums at Long Beach and Barber Motorsport Park, respectively, the latter of which occurred after he started on the pole position for a third time and led a race-high 57 laps before being outdueled by McLaughlin in the closing laps.

For the remaining 13 events on the schedule, Grosjean would manage to record a single top-10 result, which was a sixth-place run at Nashville Street Circuit in August, as he ended up in 13th place in the final driver’s standings for a second consecutive season, but with 296 points and an average-finishing result of 15.2. 

After not being retained by Andretti following the 2023 season, Grosjean found a new team to call home for the 2024 season in the form of Juncos Hollinger Racing, where he replaced Callum Ilott to drive the No. 77 Dallara-Chevrolet on a full-time basis. Coming off a 24th-place result in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg followed by an eighth-place run at the Streets of Long Beach, he is currently ranked in 13th place in the driver’s standings and trails the points lead by 57 points. 

Through 49 previous IndyCar starts, Grosjean has achieved three poles, six podiums, and 152 laps led with an average-finishing result of 14.0 as he continues his pursuit for both his first IndyCar race victory and championship. 

Romain Grosjean is scheduled to make his 50th NTT INDYCAR Series career start at Barber Motorsports Park for the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on Sunday, April 28. The event’s broadcast time is scheduled to commence at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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