It was a trying Indianapolis 500 for Alexander Rossi, a gradual move throughout the field had him finish with a fifth-place result and feeling satisfied.
The 30-year-old California native drove a quiet race to accomplish his fifth top 10 in seven Indy 500 starts. Andretti Autosport was dealt with poor qualifying times, for exception of Romain Grosjean, there were no other driver from the camp starting in the top 10.
Rossi had not reached a top-five result at Indy either of the last two seasons, but refreshed that on Sunday. His team worked their way through the field with short pitting the leaders, the top three finishers pitted nine laps later on the final green flag pit-stops of the afternoon.
On the second to last restart of the race, the 2016 Indy 500 winner rocketed up five positions from 11th to sixth.
“I think we did the most that we could from 20th,” Rossi said, via Peacock. “I think the team executed on an amazing level today, the stops were great, strategy was fantastic. The car was good when we needed it to and it was generally a very good day for the whole team.
“I’m very proud of all the 27 NAPA AutoNation Andretti Honda guys, proud of Honda for getting another win and congrats to Marcus (Ericsson), it’s very special the first one.”
The Brickyard is a place where names become etched in the history books, something Rossi did with a fuel mileage victory in the 100th Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” mere months after leaving Formula 1 in the rearview. In turn, Rossi understands what the win means for Ericsson, who competed for five years in F1 before coming to IndyCar in 2019.
“Yeah it’s pretty cool for him man,” he said. “It’s painful to watch someone else do it, but no, honestly I’ve known him for a long time over in Europe and we were teammates for a while. It’s an amazing accomplishment, so he should certainly cherish it and enjoy everything that’s to come.”