Saturday, July 20, 2019

Rossi Achieves Flag-to-Flag Road America Victory


Unparalleled speed propelled Alexander Rossi to success in his bid to finish inside the top 10 for his first time at Road America and ensured Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix ended with the NAPA Auto Parts Honda well ahead of its competition.

Taking the green flag 25 points behind NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden, Rossi used his first front-row start in Elkhart Lake as a launchpad to effectively lead all 55 laps of the season’s 10th race.

First-time pole sitter Colton Herta only led through the race’s first turn, perhaps disadvantaged by starting on scuffed red-sidewalled alternate Firestone tires while eager competitor Rossi was on a fresh set of the red softer compound.

Lap 1 became Rossi’s 666th lap led in the premier North American open-wheel championship — a total he added to all race long. Graham Rahal was the only other driver to hold the lead, and only did briefly during the final round of pit stops.

Beating third-place starter Will Power to the checkered flag by 28.4391 seconds — in a dominant run interrupted by precisely zero full-course cautions — Rossi moved to within seven points of Newgarden, who finished 3.4052 seconds back from Power to complete the podium.

Rossi’s victory is his second of the season after a similarlry dominant outing in Long Beach in April. The driver’s first Road America win is also the first for Andretti Autosport after 63 previous wins in the series at other venues. Team owner Michael Andretti captured three Elkhart Lake wins as a driver.

Steeped in history, Road America joins the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen International and the streets of Long Beach as another historic racetrack conquered by Rossi.

Graham Rahal turned a Firestone Fast Six appearance Saturday into a top-five result Sunday as he fell 1.5651 seconds short of the podium with a fourth-place finish behind championship leader Newgarden. Charging from several seconds behind the entire field after being spun on the first lap, reigning champion Scott Dixon finished fifth, just 39 seconds behind Rossi.

Joining Dixon at Chip Ganassi Racing in his first visit to Road America, Swedish pilot Felix Rosenqvist closed out the second-best finish of his short IndyCar career with a sixth. He’s only done better on the temporary street circuits in St. Petersburg and Detroit.

James Hinchcliffe, Herta, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato comprised the remainder of the top 10. Finishing 11th, Ryan Hunter-Reay was the first driver to complete 55 laps more than one minute behind race winner Rossi.

Close battling that didn’t go Ed Jones’ way led to him being the last-placed car still running at the finish. Marco Andretti is scored last after retiring early on pit lane with an engine-related issue his Andretti crew couldn’t sort out during the race.

Rossi will aim to defend his flawless day in Wisconsin during a weekend north of the border at the Honda Indy Toronto, culminating July 14 with the final street race of 2019.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. As editor-in-chief and an avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.


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Alexander Rossi in Andretti Indy car on 2019 Belle Isle pit lane

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