Scott Dixon reflected on a battling day at Road America after a lack of practice hindered his qualifying performance.
Dixon will start 13th tomorrow morning (NZT) at a circuit he has won twice at since 2016.
It is a decent result considering Dixon and the Chip Ganassi Racing team lost nearly the entire second practice session after damaging the undertray of his car.
The culprit was later revealed to be a piece of debris, which Dixon clattered on his installation lap at the start of the session.
Losing valuable practice time meant Dixon only had his limited running on Friday to go off before and during qualifying.
Still, Dixon only missed out on advancing into Group 2 by 0.04s, only pipped to the post by Ryan Hunter-Reay late in the session.
“The car felt a lot more connected, which was good, but you’re just constantly trying to catch up,” Dixon said.
“When you don’t have track time, you’re kind of second-guessing a lot of the approaches you do or where you brake or just how good the tires are going to come in.
“It’s been a frustrating start to the weekend for us. Hopefully, it gets better from this point on.
“As always, if you have a bit of a mistake or mess up a little bit you’re just at the back of the pack right now.”
In a post-qualifying practice session, Dixon set the second-best time. Though he did break his front wing in an off-track excursion, emphasising his will to push through a challenging day.
It was an equally taxing day for Scott McLaughlin.
A loose set-up for the Penske driver meant he struggled to translate the car’s promising practice speed into a solid qualifying position.
McLaughlin will start his rookie race at Road America from 17th.
Josef Newgarden optimised a gamble to qualify on the harder rubber to snag pole position.
Championship leader Pato O’Ward will start a lowly tenth, citing balance issues across the session.