- Alexander Rossi dominates REV Group Grand Prix for second win of 2019
- Closes to within seven points of championship lead
- Graham Rahal runs fourth, Scott Dixon fifth in close battle
Alexander Rossi dominated today’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America, leading every lap but one to crush the 23-car NTT IndyCar Series field for his second win of 2019, bringing him within seven points of the drivers’ championship lead. Honda increased its lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship contest while scoring its fifth win of the season.
Starting second, Rossi swept across the nose of Honda-powered pole qualifier Colton Herta to complete an outside pass as the pair entered the tight right-hand Turn 3 on the opening lap, and never looked back after taking the lead. Once in front, Rossi continued to build his advantage throughout the 55-lap event, heading the field by eight seconds just prior to the first round of pit stops; building that margin to 16 seconds by the second round, and eventually romping to a winning margin of more than 28 seconds in the caution-free event.
Rossi surrendered the lead only once, during the final round to pit stops on Lap 40, to fellow Honda driver Graham Rahal, who elected to run one additional lap prior to making his final stop.
For his part, Rahal spent the second half of the race in a multi-car fight over the third place. While Will Power ran a relatively uncontested second for the final 20 laps, Rahal battled championship leader Josef Newgarden and fellow Honda drivers Herta, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist for the final podium spot. With Herta on a different tire strategy throughout the race, the order shuffled several times in the closing laps before Newgarden held on to third by 1.5 seconds over Rahal.
Recovering from opening lap contact and a spin that dropped him to the rear of the field, defending series champion Dixon fought his way back to a fifth-place finish, followed by his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Rosenqvist. A slide in Turn 5 from Herta on Lap 53 cost both the rookie and Hinchcliffe, as Hinchcliffe finished finished seventh and Herta eighth.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Honda IndyCar Series action from Road America are available on the HPD Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
After a run of six races in the last seven weeks, the NTT IndyCar Series now takes its first extended break of the season, with two weekends off before resuming July 14 with the Honda Indy Toronto, held on the Exhibition Place street circuit in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) Started second, finished first; second IndyCar win of 2019; remains second in the drivers’ championship standings, closing to within seven points of the lead: “These guys [on his team], what they did overnight after seeing what we were missing yesterday in qualifying, was phenomenal. To turn things around today was sensational. Huge thanks to the NAPA Andretti Honda team. Man, I mean, after thinking about it a bit, I think that was the best race car today I’ve ever driven. It was a win we needed. We’ve been there or thereabouts [with a string of podium results], but the other guys were getting the upper hand on us. To be able to go out and win a race the way we did [today] stated our intentions [to fight for the championship].”
Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started fifth, finished fourth: “It’s just super competitive right now. Josef [Newgarden] and I, I think we both pushed as hard as we could the whole time [fighting for third place]. I don’t think I’ve driven 55 harder laps around this place before. But in this series, it’s just that way. You’ve got to push all the time. I’ve very pleased for the Gehl team to come out of here with fourth. I thought we might be able to come out of here with a podium; I think we were a little bit quicker than Josef, but just getting the [pass] done was a little hard. Pleased with where we finished, but still have a little more work to do. Onward we go to Toronto.”
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 12th, fell to last after opening lap contact and spin; finished fifth: “I think had we not had that issue at the start, getting turned around [following contact at Turn 5] and losing 10 or so seconds, we may have been fighting for the podium today with the PNC Bank car. We had to kind of work our way back to the front all day. It is what it is, though. It happened and all you can do is put your head down and start to gain back that time. It’s just been one of those years to this point. You just have to keep your head down and keep working hard. Congrats to [Alexander] Rossi and good job by Honda.”
Ted Klaus (president, Honda Performance Development) on today’s victory for Honda and Alexander Rossi at Road America: “It was an amazing result for the Powered by Honda teams. The power of Honda was clearly evident in a dominant performance by Andretti Autosport and Alexander, who earned the victory today, which he has deserved for a while now. I also want to commend gritty performances by both Scott [Dixon] and Colton [Herta] under adverse circumstances, and we don’t want to lose sight of an inspiring drive by Graham [Rahal] during Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s weekend of celebration marking the 25th anniversary of Honda in IndyCar competition. Next up is the Honda Indy Toronto, and we’ll be looking to duplicate today’s results there.”
NTT IndyCar Series REV Group Grand Prix
Circuit: Road America (4.0-mile road course) Elkhart Lake, Wis.
2018 Winner: Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) 132.101 mph average
Weather: Partly sunny, mild, 69 degrees F
Top-10 Race Results:
|1.||2.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55||132.894 mph average|
|2.||3.||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55||+28.4391 seconds|
|3.||4.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55||186.084 mph average|
|4.||5.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
|5.||12.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55|
|6.||18.||Felix Rosenqvist-R||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||55|
|7.||9.||James Hinchcliffe||Arrow Schmidt Peterson||Honda||55|
|8.||1.||Colton Herta-R||Harding Steinbrenner Rcg||Honda||55|
|9.||5.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevrolet||55|
|10.||6.||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Honda||55|
Other Honda Results
|11.||15.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||55|
|12.||7.||Sebastien Bourdais||DCR with Vasser-Sullivan||Honda||55|
|13.||17.||Marcus Ericsson-R||Arrow Schmidt Peterson||Honda||55|
|15.||19.||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||55|
|18.||14.||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Honda||54||Running|
|19.||21.||Santino Ferrucci-R||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||54||Running|
|23.||10.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||18||Did not finish – mechanical|