Alexander Rossi dominates in Pocono

Speedcafe.com

Monday 20th August, 2018 - 10:54am

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Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi has cut into Scott Dixon’s Verizon IndyCar Series lead after leading nearly all the way at Pocono while Will Power finished second.

Officially, Rossi led 180 of the 200 laps which took place either side of a frightening crash for Robert Wickens, but in practice he was in control for almost the entire race.

Power (#12 Team Penske Chevrolet) took the chequered flag 4.5s adrift of the #27 Andretti Autosport Honda while Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) salvaged third having qualified 13th.

The race came under Caution almost as soon as it began when Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) and Spencer Pigot (#21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) got together near the back of the field, causing the latter to spin into the inside wall.

Wickens flies into the catch fence pic: ESPN

Upon restart, Rossi passed pole-sitter Power in a green flag run which lasted less than two laps when Wickens (#6 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) spun Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) and flew into the catch fence.

After a delay of nearly two hours, the race restarted again with Rossi leading Power, Josef Newgarden (#1 Team Penske Chevrolet), Zach Veach (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda), and Sebastien Bourdais (#18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda), while Dixon was 11th having opted to pit when cars went back out on track under yellow to replace tyres which may have run over debris.

Rossi was the first of the front-runners to pit, on Lap 38, at which time he was around six seconds up the road from Power.

Others soon followed before Dixon, who topped up during the aforementioned tyre change, finally came in at the end of Lap 42.

After that cycle, Rossi had extended his advantage over Power, Newgarden and Veach resumed third and fourth respectively.

Bourdais had got back in front of Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda) having lost fifth position at the restart, while Dixon shook out in eighth.

Rossi lost some of his margin in traffic before stretching it to over a dozen seconds by the time he pitted on Lap 71, again a lap prior to Power.

The Australian pulled some of that back with wing adjustments at both ends of Car #12 and more still when Rossi got held up trying to lap Matheus Leist (#4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) just before the Lap 100 mark.

At that stage, Marco Andretti ran third having jumped three positions courtesy of a slightly earlier second pit stop and Dixon briefly being held up by Newgarden as they resumed.

The Kiwi was fourth and Newgarden fifth, although they each gained a place when Marco Andretti brought #98 into the lane on Lap 98.

Rossi and Power pitted together on Lap 104 and when the cycle completed the top four was net unchanged but Bourdais had passed Newgarden for fifth.

When Rossi began to be held up by Power’s other team-mate, eighth placed Simon Pagenaud (#22 Chevrolet), Car #12 closed to just over a second behind the #27 Andretti entry, only for Rossi to grab another couple of seconds margin once the Frenchman pitted on Lap 131.

Power jumped Rossi when they stopped on Laps 136 and 137 but the American reclaimed the place on-track on Lap 141.

He then made light work of traffic, helped by the fact that two of those ahead were team-mates Veach and Andretti, and Power lost touch.

The Penske driver got the deficit back from six seconds to less than two, only for it to blow out again when he nearly ran up into the wall behind Max Chilton (#59 Carlin Chevrolet) on the in-lap before his final pit stop on Lap 171.

From there, the race was over as far as a contest for the lead was concerned and Rossi took a third win of the season.

Marco Andretti dropped back to sixth in the Lap 130-138 pit stop cycle and Dixon ran effectively third thereafter.

Bourdais similarly occupied fourth position until the chequered flag and was the last car on the lead lap, while Newgarden finished fifth.

Veach passed Marco Andretti on-track on Lap 156 and they went on to take sixth and seventh respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 were Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball (#23 Carlin Chevrolet), and Ed Carpenter (#20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet).

With just three races remaining, Dixon’s points lead over Rossi is 29 points, while Newgarden is 37 points further back in third and Power another 15 behind in fourth.

Next up is Gateway Motorsports Park on August 24-25 (local time).

Race highlights

Race results: Pocono Raceway

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Race time/Split Pit stops Status Grid pos
1 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 2:36:49.1128 6 Running 3
2 12 Will Power D/C/F +4.4982 6 Running 1
3 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F +41.3557 7 Running 13
4 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F +42.0120 6 Running 8
5 1 Josef Newgarden D/C/F +1 lap 6 Running 2
6 26 Zach Veach (R) D/H/F +1 lap 6 Running 7
7 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F +1 lap 6 Running 11
8 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F +1 lap 7 Running 5
9 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F +2 laps 7 Running 19
10 20 Ed Carpenter D/C/F +3 laps 7 Running 15
11 4 Matheus Leist (R) D/C/F +3 laps 7 Running 20
12 10 Ed Jones D/H/F +3 laps 7 Running 12
13 59 Max Chilton D/C/F +4 laps 7 Running 21
14 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F +4 laps 8 Running 18
15 88 Conor Daly D/C/F +38 laps 7 Contact 22
16 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F +183 laps 0 Contact 16
17 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F +184 laps 1 Mechanical 14
18 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F +194 laps 0 Contact 4
19 6 Robert Wickens (R) D/H/F +194 laps 0 Contact 6
20 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F +194 laps 0 Contact 9
21 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F +194 laps 0 Contact 10
22 19 Pietro Fittipaldi (R) D/H/F +194 laps 0 Contact 17

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott Dixon 530
2 Alexander Rossi 501
3 Josef Newgarden 464
4 Will Power 449
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 411
6 Robert Wickens 391
7 Simon Pagenaud 368
8 Graham Rahal 351
9 James Hinchcliffe 338
10 Sebastien Bourdais 325
11 Marco Andretti 311
12 Ed Jones 273
13 Takuma Sato 267
14 Spencer Pigot 253
15 Tony Kanaan 240
16 Zach Veach 239
17 Charlie Kimball 234
18 Matheus Leist 201
19 Max Chilton 179
20 Ed Carpenter 169
21 Gabby Chaves 158
22 Jordan King 126
23 Zachary Claman DeMelo 122
24 Jack Harvey 63
25 Rene Binder 61
26 Conor Daly 58
27 Carlos Munoz 53
28 Kyle Kaiser 45
29 Helio Castroneves 40
30 Jnr Hildebrand 38
31 Stefan Wilson 31
32 Oriol Servia 27
33 Pietro Fittipaldi 22
34 Santino Ferrucci 18
35 Danica Patrick 13
36 Jay Howard 12
37 Alfonso Celis Jnr 10
38 Sage Karam 10
39 James Davison 10

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