Rossi Tightens IndyCar Points Race with Statement Victory
For Alexander Rossi, an utterly dominant drive to victory in the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR was just the tonic he needed.
The Andretti Autosport driver led every lap but one Sunday on Road America’s demanding, high-speed permanent road course, winning by 28.4391 seconds over Will Power. It gave Rossi a second victory in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season and the seventh of his four-year career. More importantly, it closed the 27-year-old Californian within seven points of the championship lead with seven races remaining.
“It was probably one of the best race cars I’ve ever had,” Rossi said of his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda.
“We have been quick through the whole season, but we just haven’t really had it come our way as many times as we want, for one reason or another. … To come out and be able to do what we did today is a huge testament to the whole organization.”
Starting second, Rossi passed pole sitter Colton Herta on the first of 55 laps around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit and was never challenged. Herta, who had made history earlier this season by becoming the youngest driver to win an IndyCar race, made more history during qualifying by becoming the youngest driver to win the pole.
The only lap Rossi didn’t lead came on the last of his three pit stops in the caution-free race. He returned to the top of the leaderboard when Graham Rahal made his last stop a lap later. Had he led the whole event, he would have become the first driver to lead every lap of a caution-free race since Michael Andretti at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 1991.
Rossi is on a run of five finishes of first or second place in the past seven races, beginning with a victory at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. He’s as close to the championship lead now as he has been all season. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who finished third Sunday, has 402 points to Rossi’s 395.
“Obviously you don’t want to complain about getting second places because they’re good results,” said Rossi, who had three runner-up results in the previous four races. “But it was just a win that we needed to do. We’ve been there and thereabouts, but the Penske cars were getting the upper hand on us. To be able to go out and win a race the way we did and state our intentions, we’ll regroup the next couple of weeks and come hard again in Toronto.”
The next NTT IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Exhibition Place. The race airs live at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, July 14 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Indy cars return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time in 15 years when the NTT IndyCar Series finale takes place at the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on September 20-22. The event is part of the inaugural “Monterey Speed Week” which starts with the penultimate race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on September 13-15. Combined pricing is available by calling 831-242-8200.