By: Tanner Watkins
June 18, 2019 | 4:00 PM
Sitting second in this year’s IndyCar championship hunt, Alexander Rossi has demonstrated a balanced, tenacious and skillful run for the fourth-year driver.
Entering this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix at the famous Road America circuit, Rossi is just 25 points back of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden at the top of the grid. The No. 27 Honda team won from the pole at Long Beach and has a total of seven top-five finishes to their name in 2019 – including a runner-up result at the Indianapolis 500.
So while Rossi has been incredibly consistent over the last two years – with nearly identical average start (6.3 in both ’18 and ’19) and finish (5.7 in ’18 to 5.9 in ’19) positions – the California native has also consistently struggled when racing at Road America.
In three starts at Elkhart Lake, Rossi’s best result is a mid-pack 13th place run back in 2017. He has finished each of the 160 laps possible over those three years, but after starting a career-best fourth and later finishing 16th in 2018, Road America has served to be a stunt in the championship chase for Rossi before.
After enjoying a small break following yet another second place finish in the race at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, Rossi is looking towards Road America to be a springboard of sorts instead of a barrier in a bid for a title.
“It was nice to have a weekend off after the month of May stretch but now I’m really excited to get back in the car,” Rossi emphasized. “We’ve had great pace at Road America in the past but haven’t been able to capitalize on the speed, so we will be looking to change that this year and get another win for the NAPA Racing team.”
Interestingly enough, in a combined 12 starts for all current Andretti Autosport drivers (Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach), the best finish was 2nd by Hunter-Reay last year. No driver in the AA stable has tasted victory in Wisconsin just yet, and a triumph for Rossi would be massive to kick off the home stretch.
“We’ve got our eyes on the championship now so we need to get the second half of the season off to a great start.”
Practice for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America begins this Friday. First responders can attend the event for free, and all sessions will be streamed or televised in some form by NBC Sports. Stay tuned for continued coverage of IndyCar from Road America on Open-Wheels.com.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.