By: Spencer Neff
June 23, 2019 | 2:37 PM
Following a string of three runner-up finishes in four races, Alexander Rossi got back to Victory Lane on Sunday by winning the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
After starting second and leading 54 of 55 laps on the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course, the Andretti Autosport driver earned his second win of 2019.
This is Rossi’s first win since the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 14. For the fourth-year driver, it beats his previous best effort of 13th at Road America in 2017.
As for his team, this is Andretti Autosport’s first win as a team at the track. Last year, Ryan Hunter-Reay finished runner-up at the track.
Finishing 28.4391 seconds behind Rossi was Team Penske’s Will Power, who earned his best finish of the season.
Rounding out the podium was Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden, who retains his points lead – just seven ahead of Rossi.
Driving a special tribute livery to his father and car owner Bobby as part of Honda’s 25th anniversary of IndyCar involvement, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal finished third.
During the final sequence of stops, Rahal was the only driver aside from Rossi to lead on the day.
After a wild Lap 1 spin, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon finished fifth. On the day, Dixon completed a race-high 18 passes. In all, 191 passes were recorded during the race.
With Rossi, Rahal and Dixon in the top-five, Honda engines powered three top-five finishers, with Power and Newgarden running Chevrolet power.
While Dixon’s fortune reversed from Lap 1, Rossi set the tone for the day on the opening lap.
From the start, Rossi’s aggressive style was on display. By Turn 3 of the first lap, he passed pole sitter Colton Herta for the lead. Once he got by, Rossi’s pace became apparent.
Further back, trouble already found one of the championship contenders. In Turn 5, Dixon spun after contact with Hunter-Reay. After a brief stall, Dixon was able to continue on.
As Rossi dominated, Turn 5 continued to be a place of intrigue throughout the field. Among those getting off course was Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Marcus Ericsson. Fortunately, the rookie was able to continue on.
During the first set of stops, Herta pitted from fourth and his Harding Steinbrenner Racing team had issues getting the fuel to flow into his Honda-powered machine. After the stop, the pole sitter fell as far back as 12th.
On Lap 21, Herta and Simon Pagenaud got together in Turn 5, forcing both drivers off the track. Although Race Control took no further action and both reported no damage, Dixon passed both drivers to move up to seventh.
After being on pit road for several laps, Marco Andretti was the first out of the race on Lap 27. More than seven laps down, the Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian driver fell out of the event due to electrical issues.
While Rossi continued to dominate, a massive buildup of debris appeared in Turn 11. Further complicating things is the fact that “The Kink” as Turn 11 has been known, is the fastest corner of the track. Although the chunks of concrete appeared to be a major concern, the race continued to stay green.
On Lap 41, the leader opted to stop a lap early to avoid falling behind with any potential yellow flags during the final round of pit stops on the afternoon.
Through the final stop, Rossi got through cleanly and continued on to a dominant win. For the second straight year, the race went caution-free.
Following a two-weekend summer break, the NTT IndyCar Series will make its lone stop outside the United States in the next race. July 14’s Honda Indy Toronto at the Exhibition Place circuit will be the last event on a temporary street circuit in 2019.
The July 14 race will feature a half-hour pre-race show on NBCSN set to begin at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, leading into the race broadcast and expected green flag at 3:30 p.m.
Have a great two weeks away and check out Open-Wheels.com for continued coverage on the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America and the NTT IndyCar Series.
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.