LONG BEACH, Calif – Alexander Rossi told me a few weeks ago that he was going to Long Beach to take back what was his. See, last year, the California native said that he should have won. Instead, he engine blew late in the race.
This year, after having two straight podiums to start the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season off with, and only one finish outside the top six since last July, he felt that this weekend would be redemption for how 2017’s race went.
Boy was he right.
Rossi, was quick out of the gates, being third quickest in practice in the opening session. He was fastest the rest of the weekend. Rossi, was fastest in the other three practices and even earned his second career Verizon P1 Pole Award too. In Sunday’s race, no one had anything for him.
Rossi, easily cruised to his third career INDYCAR victory in Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, making a huge statement that he’s among the series’ best drivers. The Andretti Autosport driver has won at Indy, Watkins Glen and now Long Beach, all with NAPA’s colors.
Now, he heads to Barber with eight top six finishes over his last nine starts. He had to endure two late race restarts but no one had anything for him. He lead 71 of the 85 laps in Sunday’s race.
Will Power started second and finished second in his No. 12 Chevrolet. He went from 14th to eighth in the points standings as he finally backed up his top three starting spot. In St. Pete, he spun on the opening lap and would finish 10th. In Phoenix, he crashed and finished 22nd. Now, he gained his 63rd career podium finish and 87th top five.
Ed Jones tied his career best result of third in his No. 10 Honda. His previous career high was a third in last year’s Indianapolis 500. For Jones, he has to wonder what if now. Last weekend, he was riding in second when he crashed with 21 laps-to-go. He was eighth in the season opener at St. Pete and moves into ninth in the series standings.
Zach Veach did earn his best career finish with a fourth place run in his No. 26 Honda. His teammate Marco Andretti finished sixth in his No. 98 Honda to give Andretti three cars in the top six.
Graham Rahal rallied to a fifth place run in his No. 15 Honda to give Honda’s five of the top six finishing positions. He got into the back of Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap of the race in Turn 1 and was penalized for that. He’d go from the top five to outside the top 20. But, the Ohio native slowly rallied his way back up and earned his third top 10 finish to start the year off.
Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon were initially heading towards podium finishes, but they tried to stretch their final stint too long. While running 1-2, Zachary Claman DeMelo crashed bringing out the third caution of the day on Lap 59. At the time, Bourdais and Dixon tried to sneak into the pits.
It didn’t work.
They’d finish 11th (Dixon) and 14th (Bourdais) because of that.
Rossi, leads Josef Newgarden by 22 points heading into next weekend’s race at Barber.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Results
- 27 Rossi
- 12 Power
- 10 Jones
- 26 Veach R
- 15 Rahal
- 98 Andretti
- 1 Newgarden
- 14 Kanaan
- 5 Hinchcliffe
- 23 Kimball
- 9 Dixon
- 60 Harvey R
- 4 Leist R
- 18 Bourdais
- 21 Pigot
- 32 Kaiser R
- 59 Chilton
- 20 King R
- 88 Chaves
- 28 Hunter-Reay
- 30 Sato
- 6 Wickens R
- 19 Claman DeMelo R
- 22 Pagenaud