Drama in Pocono

August 19, 2019

As the green flag fell at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, drama quickly followed. Rain had cancelled qualifying on Saturday and the field of 22 lined up on Championship points. This gave Alexander Rossi a front row starting position next to points leader Josef Newgarden.
With a rough start, Rossi lost two positions before making it to Turn 1 and headed into the second turn three-wide between teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver, Takuma Sato. Sato moved left into Rossi and across the nose of Hunter-Reay. As the entangled cars shot down the track and back up to the wall, additional cars were collected, including James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist. The dangerous move by Sato ended the race for Rosenqvist, who was transported to the hospital for evaluation (and released). The incident brought out the first of two Red Flags in the 200-lap race.
“Obviously, I didn’t get a good start – so that’s on me,” said Rossi. “But we were three wide; Ryan was on the inside, I was in the middle and Takuma was on the outside. I can’t even begin to understand how after last year Takuma thinks that any sort of driving like that is acceptable. To turn across two cars, at that speed, in that corner at a 500-mile race is disgraceful, upsetting and may have cost us a championship. It’s upsetting. This team works too hard to have something like that happen."
 
Needing to capture valuable championship points, Rossi’s NAPA AutoCare crew quickly went to work to get his No. 27 MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda back on track. By Lap 88, the M2M team had served its 10-lap penalty for working on the car under red conditions and was back on track. After one pit stop, Rossi was able to jump Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe who had both repaired theirs cars. 
 
One lap shy of gaining another position over Spencer Pigot, inclement weather in the area drew the final red flag of the event. Once the rain began to fall, the checkered flag was waved, ending the race on Lap 128. Rossi finished the day 18th and collected 12 points toward the championship, leaving him second in the standings and 35 points behind Newgarden. Team Penske’s Will Power was the race winner. 
 
“The whole team worked tirelessly to get the 27 car back on track,” said Rossi. Once we got out there, the car just didn’t have the handling we needed so we held on to make up as many points as we could. Unfortunately, the weather came, and the race was called one lap before we could gain another spot. We have a couple days to rebound and go for race wins now – that’s all that matters.”
The NTT IndyCar Series gets back to racing this week with the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The 248-lap race is Saturday with NBCSN's coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The green flag is scheduled for 8:45 p.m., with the INDYCAR Radio Network available on all affiliates plus XM 209, Sirius 98 and Internet/App 970.


4 Responses

Darryl Smith
Darryl Smith

August 20, 2019

In the early 2000s I raced in the last few years of the Jim Russell Series at Sonoma. This incident reminds me of an accident I caused during qualifying. I was catching a much slower car going into turn 11. The other car was way wide so I dove for the hole. Suddenly the hole was not there and the left front tire on my car ran up the right rear tire of the car in front. In open wheel racing that launches the rear car. Fortunately neither of us were injured but both cars sustained a lot of damage.

The point of me telling this story is that I learned a valuable lesson. The racing line belongs to the car in front. In my opinion Takuma tried to shoot through a hole that was not going to be there on the racing line and he did not leave enough room for the other cars to respond to his move. It does appear to me that Alex’s car may have been moving to the right on the racing line and Takuma may have started a move to the left before he cleared Alex.

Still in my opinion Takuma used poor judgement so early in the race especially given the traffic that he moved into and would have been in had he and Alex not come together.

Jeff
Jeff

August 20, 2019

Heart breaking incident at Pocono for sure. Certainly penalty give is one more INDY blunder of ignorance and unfairness to a true fair playing Champion.

Alex, you are the true Champ!

Fred Santini
Fred Santini

August 19, 2019

Sato should be looking for a new ride.

Lee C
Lee C

August 19, 2019

It is a great relief that everyone involved in the crash is okay! Major props to the Andretti team for an outstanding effort to get Alex back in the race! Given the circumstances, 18 points was a very good result!
Alexander and NAPA Andretti Autosport have consistently proven to be a championship caliber combination and I look forward to you all the getting the trophy as confirmation! Hammer down, y’all!!!

Leave a comment

Be the first to know

Sign up to receive exclusive news from AlexanderRossi.com

Contact Us