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Rossi Wins Street Fight

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 15 2018

Alexander Rossi drove to victory in the Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday.

Alexander Rossi had a great weekend at home. The California native qualified P1 on Saturday for Sunday’s IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach, led the morning warmup practice on race day, three of four practices on the weekend and then collected the big trophy in the race itself.

The Andretti Autosport driver led all but 14 laps in the 85-lap race on the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit.

“I can’t really put into words how good the car was all week,” Rossi said. “I think we proved that. I’m just so glad we were able to capitalize on it. It’s a good feeling.”

The victory was the third of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner’s IndyCar Series career. It marked his sixth podium finish in the last nine races.

He surrendered the lead only during the cycle of pit stops and stuck to the two-stop strategy to fashion the win. With the victory, Rossi climbed into the unofficial points lead after three of 17 races this season, holding a 22-point advantage over reigning series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

Finishing second was Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Chevrolet of Team Penske.

“That was absolutely driving as hard as I could go,” Power, who started the race P2, said. “I’m sure he was going as hard as he could go, using push to pass. The Honda (of Rossi) was just a bit better on the hairpin. On the restarts I couldn’t get close. I think we have better top end but they drive out of the hairpin really good.”

Ed Jones of Chip Ganassi finished third.

Rookie Zach Veach placed a career-best fourth in the No. 26 Honda for Andretti Autosport.

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

“I think we had a car that could have had a shot at Rossi today,” Rahal said. “We made some changes for the race and the Total car was fantastic. I’m really disappointed in myself and disappointed in the way that it all began but I’m proud of the Total team for the way that it finished. We made a lot of passes today.  I passed more cars here today that I have passed in a long time.

“We had a lot of fun but we want to win. Yes, it’s a good start to the year and with our United Rentals Turns for Troops program, we raised a lot more money. To be third and finish all the laps so far and finish in the top-five a couple of times and get a podium so far is good but this was our best weekend yet.  We deserved to be there this weekend and that’s why it’s a little bittersweet.”

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Results Sunday of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 85, Running
2. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
3. (13) Ed Jones, Honda, 85, Running
4. (16) Zach Veach, Honda, 85, Running
5. (5) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
6. (20) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
7. (6) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
8. (11) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 85, Running
9. (8) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 85, Running
10. (23) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 85, Running
11. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
12. (17) Jack Harvey, Honda, 85, Running
13. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 85, Running
14. (14) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 85, Running
15. (18) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 84, Running
16. (24) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 84, Running
17. (15) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 84, Running
18. (12) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 84, Running
19. (19) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 83, Running
20. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 81, Running
21. (22) Takuma Sato, Honda, 74, Running
22. (10) Robert Wickens, Honda, 73, Running
23. (21) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 58, Contact
24. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 0, Contact
                                                            
Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 88.622 mph
Time of Race: 1:53:15.2434
Margin of victory: 1.2413 seconds
Cautions: 4 for 17 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:

Rossi 1-24
Power 25-30
Hunter-Reay 31
Rossi 32-55
Bourdais 56-59
Newgarden 60-62
Rossi 63-85

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
 Rossi 126, Newgarden 104, Rahal 93, Bourdais 88, Hinchcliffe 83, Dixon 79, Hunter-Reay 73, Power 72, Jones 69, Andretti 68.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 15 2018
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