Indianapolis (AP) — Alexander Rossi broke a 49-race losing streak with a win at one of his favorite tracks in the 2019 IndyCar season – ensuring he ends his Andretti Autosport career on a high note terminates.
Rossi won on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, where his 2016 Indianapolis 500 victory in the 100th race launched his American motorsports career. Rossi’s last win was on Road America in the 10th race of the 2019 season.
“It’s a relief,” Rossi sighed on the victory podium. “Support has been there for me for so long. Shoutout to Andretti Autosport in their continued belief. We still have some more to go, but it was a really good track for us to do that back at home in Indianapolis. It was really wonderful.”
The long slump prompted him to seek a fresh start and the California native would leave Andretti at the end of his seventh season to drive next year for Arrow McLaren SP. It was Michael Andretti who gave Rossi a chance at IndyCar when he dropped out of Formula One and returned to the United States to continue his career.
Rossi’s surprise victory as a rookie in the 100th race of the Indy 500 made him a star and earned him loyal sponsorships that weathered his long drought. Some of their issues over the past three seasons have been given to the team – errors, mechanical failures and a full Andretti team in mid-Ohio earlier this month – and Saturday was hardly a perfect day for the organization.
Colton Herta controlled the early part of the race but slowed from the lead just before the halfway point.
“I can’t do anything,” he radioed as he tried to get his weak Honda back into the pit lane.
He later walked alone down the pit alley to the paddock as the race continued without him.
“Dude that’s sad,” Herta tweeted. “We’ve shown what we can do, we’ll keep going until we win again.”
Rossi was sympathetic to his partner.
“I feel for Colton, I do. But I am thankful that something finally came our way,” Rossi said. “I think Colton was definitely stronger, and we had the same race car , and that (fight) would have been interesting. But it was the turn of 27. And it’s awesome.”
Meanwhile, Andretti rookie Devlin DeFrancesco attracted Connor Daly’s anger as DeFrancesco lashed out at Daly off the track.
“Devlin needs to be kicked out of this racing series! He’s an idiot!” Daly shouted on his radio.
There is speculation that Michael Andretti is considering bringing back DeFrancesco for a second season.
Christian Lundgaard, a Danish rookie who made his IndyCar debut at this race a year earlier, finished second to give Rahal Letterman Lanigan his first podium of the season. It also gave Honda-powered drivers a 1-2 finish.
Will Power finished third for Team Penske and the Chevrolet driver returned to the top of the IndyCar standings for the third time this season. He now has a nine-point lead over Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who started last and finished 11th.
Scott McLaughlin finished fourth and was followed by Joseph Newgarden as the Penske drivers worked together to cross the finish line in a row. Newgarden was cleared to race Saturday by IndyCar’s medical staff after falling and injuring his head last Sunday at Iowa Speedway.
The race began with six drivers separated by 44 points, with five races remaining in the IndyCar season. The six drivers are now separated by 52 points, with 10th-placed series champion Alex Palu fielding them.
UP NEXT: IndyCar returns to the downtown streets of Nashville next Sunday for a second consecutive season. Ericsson Rescue is the race winner.
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