Sunday, June 4, 2023

‘We Were the Second Best Car’ – Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi finished third at Road America.
Alexander Rossi wasn’t able to convert pole into victory in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America. Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Alexander Rossi hoped for more in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America.

The 30-year-old California native started on pole and appeared poised to snap a 44-race winless streak. The circuit was ideal, too, as the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course was the site of his last IndyCar victory in 2019.

Despite opening up Sunday’s race by leading the opening 14 of 55 laps, Rossi’s No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda was unable to match the outright pace of Josef Newgarden. Instead, Rossi was left being the one in pursuit and trying to close the gap to Newgarden’s No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet, which was happening late in the 55-lap contest following the final series of pit stops.

A pair of cautions on Lap 48 and again on Lap 51 provided brief opportunities to take shots on the restarts. Ultimately, though, the effort by Rossi wasn’t enough to mount a serious charge on Newgarden and he actually ended up losing the runner-up spot to Marcus Ericsson en route to finishing third. Newgarden, a two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, collected his third win of the 2022 season.

“Yeah, probably a little disappointing when you start on pole and can’t convert,” said Rossi, who also finished second last weekend at Belle Isle. “It was generally a good day, I think. I think Josef had a little bit better pace than us. I think we were the second best car. Pretty aggressive on the restart there to try and do something. Just kind of overstepped a little bit. That’s what allowed Marcus to get by.

“Ultimately I don’t know that we would have been able to win. Got held up with Scott McLaughlin a little bit coming into the pits when we were trying to leave on the first sequence. With the lap cars, Josef was the first to get to him. From there on it was trying to close the gap that got started there.

“A little disappointing, but all in all I think it was a very positive weekend for us for obvious reasons A good run of races, look forward to going to Mid-Ohio.”

Additionally, Rossi, who sits seventh in the championship standings, shared his thoughts on the two late restarts that provided him a chance at the win.

“He [Newgarden] went pretty early on the first one,” Rossi said of the Lap 50 restart. “I went with him on the second (Lap 52) and actually got too close.

“Yeah, he executed well. It was my mistake, which allowed Marcus to get by. You got to try in those situations to go for the win.”

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