Rossi caps dominant Long Beach weekend with victory

Alexander Rossi dominates to clinch victory in Long Beach

Alexander Rossi cruised to the pole Saturday for the IndyCar race Sunday through the downtown streets of Long Beach.

But with 13 races still to come, including double-points outings at Indy and Sonoma, Rossi was quick to shoot down any talk of title favoritism.

"When you look at what he did this weekend, man, really, really, really strong", Power said. "This is one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons".

After clinching the Verizon P1 award on Saturday for putting the vehicle on pole position by almost 0.5secs, Rossi was able to run an inspired two-stop strategy in the race which not one of his rivals was able to replicate.

Rossi comfortably earned the second pole of his three-year IndyCar career during qualifying, and his pace was still there in the race. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races hadn't won since Watkins Glen last year, but he had put his speedy Honda in position to win this year both in St. Petersburg - where he instead made late contact with rookie Robert Wickens - and again last weekend in Phoenix, where he finished third.

"I certainly hope I haven't peaked too early with those three, " Rossi said of his impressive array of conquered tracks.

Ed Jones of Chip Ganassi Racing finished third in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda, tying the career best that the second-year driver accomplished in last year's Indianapolis 500.

Graham Rahal, in the No. 15 Total Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, overcame a drive-through penalty for making contact with Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap to place fifth.

Rossi has hit the track at full speed this season after his TV break, reaching the podium twice already in St Petersburg and again last weekend in Phoenix.

The former series champion and 32-time race victor took the lead in the 25th lap, but was overtaken by eventual victor Alexander Rossi who pulled away with nine laps to go for his third IndyCar victory. "That was absolutely driving as hard as I could go, and I'm sure that was as hard as (Rossi) could go, too". And the common body kit was a really, really good idea. Other notables included Marco Andretti in sixth, defending series champion Josef Newgarden in seventh and 2017 Long Beach race victor James Hinchcliffe in ninth.

Defending series champion Josef Newgarden finished seventh, and defending Long Beach champion James Hinchcliffe was ninth. "That's pretty much all we had".

The Long Beach street course is popular both for its friendly California atmosphere and the opportunities for remarkable racing created by its dimensions. Those opportunities were seized by many drivers - particularly Bourdais, who executed a jaw-dropping move to pass diagonally through three drivers.

However, the Frenchman was deemed to have entered the pit exit lane during the move and was ordered by the stewards to give the place back to Dixon.

The final yellow came out on lap 72 when rookie Jordan King piled into the back of Sebastien Bourdais causing a four auto pileup that also included Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Wickens.

The third of four yellow-cautions in the race, occurring on lap 60 when Zachary Claman De Melo (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) tagged the outer concrete barrier coming out of turn 9, played a major role in the final finishing order.

Ryan Hunter-Reay also got some residual damage after his right front wing clipped the left rear tire of Scott Dixon when the field bunched together to avoid Pagenaud and Rahal. Hunter-Reay fought his way back up to fifth, but got a puncture on contact with King.

The Indy cars will be back in action next Sunday, April 22, when the series shifts to Barber Motor Sports Park for the Honda GP of Alabama.

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