The drought is finally over for Alexander Rossi.
Rossi won Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to net a winless series of 49 races, capturing his first win since capturing the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on June 23, 2019 at Road America, 1,133 days ago. This was the eighth victory for Rossi in his career.
“That’s a relief, man,” said Rossi. “It was too many things for a long time. Fortunately something came our way.”
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Andretti Autosport driver Rossi crossed the finish line in his #27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda car, 3.5441 seconds ahead of Christian Lundgaard, who finished second in his career at number 30 Shield Cleansers Honda.
Will Power finished third in the 85 lap race of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and topped the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with only four races left. Bauer has a nine-point lead over Marcus Ericsson, who climbed from last in 25 cars to finish 11th in the #8 Honda Husky Chocolate Chip Ganassi.
Team Penske finished with all three of its drivers in the top five. Scott McLaughlin finished fourth on the #3 Penske Chevrolet at Gallagher Insurance Team, while two-time series champion Joseph Newgarden finished fifth on the second-placed PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.
Rossi, who started second, took the lead forever on lap 42 when leader and teammate Colton Herta lost leadership after navigating Turn 8 on the 2,439-mile 11-turn track in the #26 Ginbridge Honda Race. Herta was able to climb into the pit lane entrance But his race is over. He got 24th place.
The mechanical problem was a harsh turn of fate for Herta, who started in ninth and led to the lead by lap 8, passing NTT P1 winner Felix Rosenqvist in the seventh turn. , where rival teams unsuccessfully attempted multiple strategies to neutralize their advantage.
“I feel for Colton,” Rossi said. “I think he was definitely strong. We had pretty much the same race car. It would have been interesting. I don’t want to take anything he did from nine. Reaching this position was incredible. But it was the turn of 27. That’s cool.”
Once Herta was out of the race, Rossi built a steady gap of about four seconds to Lundgaard. The Danish rookie made things interesting late in the race, closing in 2.7secs with 10 laps left.
But Rossi pulled away in the final laps to claim a decisive victory, ending Lundgaard’s chance of becoming the first rookie to win the NTT INDYCAR SERIES since Rossi shocked the racing world with victory in the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
“At the end of the third period, I was hunting Alex,” Lundgaard said. “I really wished because every pit pit we always caught. We lost quite a bit at the start of the job. Andretti’s car had so much better power than we did today. That killed our rear tires, and we struggled long term.
“The results speak for themselves. Coming this weekend, we knew we had a strong car.”
Rossi, who led 44 laps, will split $10,000 with his team and his select charities, Leilani Mae Horse Rescue campaign and AutoNation’s Drive Pink, to win as part of the PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge.
The force once again produced a written impulse, overcoming the proximity of early disaster, to top the points. Power contacted Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet’s #5 at Pato O’Ward in a 3D traffic jam at Turns 1 and 2 on lap one, and also had an early flick with the #06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda of Helio Castroneves finding himself in sixth place. Ten in the early laps.
But Bauer quietly drove across the field to finish his seventh on the podium this season.
“Great recovery, man,” Bauer said. “You can’t expect a normal day at INDYCAR. Everyone is so aggressive, it’s so hard to win this series. It’s the toughest series in the world. Great job by the guys from Verizon 5G. It’s amazing that we can be back out there and recover to third place” .
Fewer race points separates the powerhouse from fifth-placed O’Ward, who is down 46. Newgarden is third, 32 points off the lead. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon, who finished eighth in ninth in the ninth spot in the BNC Chip Ganassi Racing Honda rating, returned 38 points in fourth.
The latest hectic schedule of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES continues with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on Sunday, August 7 in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Live coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBC and IndyCar Radio.
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