Rossi 'the person to beat' for IndyCar title - Power

16 April, 2018, 15:38 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Chris Pook

Alexander Rossi pulled away after a late restart to win the Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, completing a dominant weekend by holding off Will Power for his third career IndyCar victory. He hasn't finished lower than third in the opening three races of the season, and Power said after Sunday's race that the Andretti driver's form was a worrying sign for the rest of the field. Graham Rahal was fifth after an opening-lap collision with Sebastien Pagenaud, who was knocked out of the 44th edition of the Long Beach race. "To be able to have (Hachigo) come over to this race and to have a Honda vehicle on pole and two of the three cars on the podium be Honda cars, that's fantastic for all of us that are obviously supported by the manufacturer and HPD".

"This is the most competitive championship I've ever participated in", Alexander added. "When you add in the Scott Dixons and the Will Powers of the world; guys that just - all they know is winning - and then you combine it with drivers who are massively talented like Rob [Wickens] and Jordan King, and these rookies who are making an impression, Zach Veach, who drove from P17 to fourth today..." Even when we saw him at Phoenix, on the oval.

Rossi comfortably earned the second pole of his three-year IndyCar career during qualifying, and his pace was still there in the race.

Rossi doesn't have many victories yet, but they're all monsters: The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races also won at Watkins Glen late a year ago. "You can always look back and think of something you would do different, but this was pretty close to perfection".

Rossi was a contestant on the most recent season of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race alongside fellow driver Conor Daly, who attended the race in Long Beach despite not now having an IndyCar ride.

Rossi was a contestant on the most recent season of the CBS reality show "The Amazing Race" alongside fellow driver Conor Daly, who attended the race in Long Beach despite not now having an IndyCar ride.

Will said in the press conference after the race that he now considered Rossi as the potential favourite for this year's championship, whilst also going on to praise the high calibre of drivers in the series at the moment.

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"I think he's going to be tough to beat in the championship", Power said. "He was just really, really good". Corrects Pagenaud's first name to Simon in third paragraph.

Rossi, in the No. 27 NAPA ATO PARTS Honda, led all but 14 of the 85 laps on the 1.986-mile, 11-turn course and crossed the finish line 1.2413 seconds ahead of Will Power. Those opportunities were seized by many drivers - particularly Bourdais, who executed a jaw-dropping move to pass diagonally through three drivers.

However, the Frenchman was deemed to have entered the pit exit lane during the move and was ordered by the stewards to give the place back to Dixon. Rahal got a drive-through penalty.

Ryan Hunter-Reay also had to come in early for a new nose after opening-lap contact with Scott Dixon.

The race's next caution came out when Kyle Kaiser's No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet stalled in the Turn 1 runoff area on Lap 42.

The final yellow came out on lap 72 when rookie Jordan King piled into the back of Sebastien Bourdais causing a four auto pileup that also included Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Wickens. Hunter-Reay fought his way back up to fifth, but got a puncture on contact with King.

The Verizon IndyCar Series moves to Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Sunday.

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