Tuesday, Aug 09

Rossi Snaps Streak with Indy GP Victory Featured

Monday, Aug 01 264
Alexander Rossi during the Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Alexander Rossi during the Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Penske Entertainment: Walt Kuhn

It had been over 1,000 days since Alexander Rossi had last won an NTT IndyCar Series race, at Road America in 2019. 49 races had passed, the longest winless drought of his career for the 30-year-old American driver for Andretti Autosport. On Saturday, in the midst of a jam-packed doubleheader weekend featuring NASCAR and IndyCar both running races at the IMS infield circuit, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner snapped his winless streak in commanding fashion. 

Felix Rosenqvist won the pole and led the first 7 laps before being passed by Colton Herta on lap 8, who in turn would cede the lead to Scott McLaughlin on lap 14. McLaughlin would lead 10 laps, then teammate Will Power took a turn out front on lap 24. Herta regained the lead as the race settled in on lap 31. Simon Pagenaud ran out of fuel, ending his day early and bringing out the second of two cautions on lap 36.

On the restart, Herta and Andretti teammate Alexander Rossi pulled away from the rest of the field, setting up a possible duel between the two young American stars. Herta, however, ran over a curb hard and broke a component in the car, forcing him to retire from the race on lap 41 and giving the lead over to Rossi.

Rossi led the remaining 44 laps to win the Gallagher Grand Prix, his first win in 3 seasons. It’s Rossi’s third podium of the 2022 season, after he placed second at Belle Isle and third at Road America. The American driver is set to leave Andretti Autosport for Arrow Mclaren SP at the conclusion of this season, making this win the potential final act for the Rossi/Andretti combination. 

Said Rossi post race about finally snapping the streak and returning to victory lane,

“Yeah, it's a lot of relief I think is the main word. We've had some race wins that we've thrown away for sure, and we've had some weekends where we've just kind of not had the pace, and for whatever reason. I think that we knew things were trending in a good direction this year, and we had a solid test here a month or so ago. I think the one constant has been just the mental strength of the whole team. As challenging as it is for me, it's also hard for them. They go in every day and work their butts off, and when they don't get results, it's hard for them, as well. I think as a unit, that's one of our strengths is being able to continue to just push forward. It's a big team win and a big thank you to the whole organization.”

Rookie Christian Lundgaard garnered a career-best second place finish in the race, his first career podium. The driver for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing credited his team during his post race press conference. 

“It feels amazing,” said Lundgaard. “I think the best feeling right now is that the team really deserves it. They've worked super hard, and we've had such a struggling beginning to the season, and I think coming to Toronto was when things started to change. We saw sort of a streak where we started to perform better. Even Road America, Mid-Ohio was there. We were on the edge of the top 10. To come here and finish second, I think the team deserves every bit of it. I'm just a guy doing my job really. I want to win, so I try as best I can every event.”

Lundgaard leads the rookie standings following his strong result, leading David Malukas by 27 points with 4 races to go. 

Will Power finished third, his seventh podium of the year. More important was the points gain he made in the championship race, as he leapfrogged Marcus Ericsson to regain the points lead on Saturday. 

“It's amazing some of the runs we've had this year,” Power said. “But yep, just kept my head and did what I could in the situation. I had to get a big fuel number and go as fast as I can. Very good day. Good day for the team all around.”

Power also acknowledged the change in mindset that comes with racing for a championship as the races wind down.

“It's not necessarily the long game, it's just that sort of attitude switch where you know these races are long, the season is long, and you've got to make the most of every situation, even if you're fighting for like 12th. If that's your day to finish 12th, well, finish 12th, not 24th.”

Power leads Ericsson by 9 points, with teammate Josef Newgarden in third place, 32 points back. Newgarden competed in Saturday’s race after doctors cleared him to race on Friday, as his recovery was in doubt following a hard crash last week at Iowa.

After Power in third, his Penske teammates Scott McLaughlin and Newgarden finished fourth and fifth. Closing out the second half of the top 10 were Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Felix Rosenqvist, and Alex Palou.

The NTT IndyCar Series will travel to Nashville this upcoming weekend for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. The event is the second race on the streets of Nashville, and will be on Sunday, August 7th at 3:00 EST on NBC

Ethan Miller

Ethan Miller is 17 years old and resides in Pennsylvania. He aspires to become a sports writer following high school, and views writing for Speedway Digest as the next step towards a career in journalism. Ethan currently hosts the QuickPitPodcast with a few fellow NASCAR fans, which can be found on all major podcast platforms. 


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