After taking the lead early on, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi controlled the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. The third-year driver started third and led 180 of 200 laps to win for the third time in 2018 and fifth time in his career.
Rossi’s third win puts him in a tie for most in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2018 (Dixon, Newgarden). Falling short in his bid for three straight Pocono wins and a third consecutive 500-mile race win, Team Penske’s Will Power finished second. Power crossed the line 4.4982 seconds behind Rossi.
Points leader Scott Dixon came home in third. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s lead over Rossi is just 29 points with three races remaining. Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Sebastien Bourdais finished third, his first Top Five since the Indianapolis GP. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden rounded out the Top Five.
The race would get off to a rough start for two drivers as the race began. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot spun before the green flag but returned later in the event. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal sustained front wing damage from the contact and served a drive-through penalty. After the crash, the first six laps of the race were run under yellow.
Rossi took the lead from Power on the Lap 7 restart. Shortly after, a major accident broke out. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact in Turn 2.
Wickens’ car got airborne into the catch fence, triggering a violent, multi-car crash. Dale Coyne Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi collided with Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe and Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Takuma Sato was also involved.
Wickens was awake and alert, but did get transported to Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown. Fittipaldi and Hinchcliffe were held at the infield care center but were released after X-Rays.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports tweeted an update on his condition after the race. Per the team, Wickens was admitted to the hospital and being evaluated for orthopedic injuries as of this writing. Hinchcliffe also received cuts on his hands from crash debris, he informed NBC Sports Network.
After a 1 hour, 56-minute red flag and four laps under caution, racing would resume.
Rossi would jump out to a big lead until the first set of pit stops. Once pit stops cycled through and he retook the lead, he continued his fast pace for most of the race. Power briefly took the lead after his fourth pit stop on Lap 136. Shortly after, he developed understeer in his car and Rossi took the top spot.
Final pit stops began on Lap 164. Two laps later, Harding Racing driver Conor Daly made light contact with the Turn 2. Daly’s day would be over but the race stayed green. Rossi would pull away from the field, leaving just four drivers on the lead lap. He led the final 29 laps on his way to the checkered flag.
The 200-lap event featured nine lead changes among four drivers and was slowed by just two cautions for 10 laps. Following the multi-car crash early on, the race would run caution-free to the checkered flag for the remaining 189 laps.
Sunday’s race at Pocono saw 11 lead changes among four drivers. Two cautions for 10 laps leaves the average speed of the race at 191.304 MPH. It is the second-fastest 500-mile race in the track’s history (2014).
Behind Dixon and Rossi is Newgarden, who is 37 points behind Rossi. Power is 15 points behind Newgarden in fourth. Rounding out the Top Five is Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. who is 38 points behind Power.
Next on the schedule is the final oval race of the year. This time, at the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park. The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline will be held on Saturday night (August 25). The race airs live at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Open-Wheels would like to offer our well wishes to Robert Wickens, as well as his family and friends.
Header Image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR MEDIA