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

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi put on a dominant performance to claim his third IndyCar victory around the streets of Long Beach.

"As soon as I get my head out of my (butt) in qualifying, I'll be able to win a race", Andretti said on Twitter before thanking his team for giving him a auto capable of a top-10 finish.

"We nailed the setup in each session this weekend", said Rossi. "I will remember this for a long, long time".

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 previous year. Rossi is the fifth driver to win at Long Beach from the pole, but the first since 2007. "I think he's going to be tough to beat in the championship". "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 and Jordan King, and these rookies who are making an impression, Zach Veach, who drove from P17 to fourth today".

The result also was encouraging for Power, the former series champion and 32-time race victor. "He was just too fast today". And the common body kit was a really, really good idea.

Sixth through 10th were Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, Phoenix victor and Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan of A.J. Foyt Racing, defending Long Beach victor James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Charlie Kimball of Carlin Racing.

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden finished seventh, and defending Long Beach champion James Hinchcliffe was ninth. "It's something that will definitely take a lot of time to appreciate, but we don't have that much time to appreciate it because this series just likes to keep us going, so we're on track here in another four or five days, and you're only as good as your last time on track".

Power took the lead when Rossi pitted on the 25th lap, but Rossi moved right back in front on the 32nd lap.

The race got off to a rough start for 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Verizon Chevy).

Rossi pitted again on the 56th lap, but got a break when Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon were penalised for entering a closed pit lane during a caution.

The Long Beach street course is popular both for its friendly California atmosphere and the opportunities for remarkable racing created by its dimensions.

Bourdais was ordered to give back the position to Dixon because he apparently used the pit lane to make his move, but Bourdais then caught and passed Dixon for second place again anyway.

The third of four yellow-cautions in the race, occurring on lap 60 when Zachary Claman De Melo (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) tagged the outer concrete barrier coming out of turn 9, played a major role in the final finishing order. Rahal was given a drive-through penalty for the incident.

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

Britain's Jordan King spoiled Bourdais' race in the latter stages after going into the back of the St.Petersberg victor at the final hairpin on lap 72 leading to a partial blockage of the track, this incident came after the rookie came into the pits to try and re-bleed the brakes after complaints of a long brake pedal. Hunter-Reay fought his way back up to fifth, but got a puncture on contact with Jordan King.

On Friday, Rossi joins rest of the IndyCar field at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama for practice for the first road-course race of the season.