Alexander Rossi earned his first NTT P1 Award in more than three years, taking the top spot Saturday for the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR.
Rossi’s final lap secured his seventh career pole and first since June 2019 at Detroit, as he produced a time of 1 minute, 44.8656 seconds in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. That lap also ensured there was a different pole winner for the first eight races of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, a feat last achieved in 1961.
Four of the drivers in the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session decided to use the Firestone primary “black” tires, which are more durable but have less grip than the alternate “red” tires. Josef Newgarden used the same strategy last year to win the pole on this 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit.
“I think we saw with Josef last year that he was able to get Colton (Herta) on the blacks, and most of our competition was on the primaries, as well,” Rossi said. “I think that’s just kind of the trend here.
“It was an amazing job all weekend by the NAPA AUTO PARTS-AutoNation-Andretti Honda guys. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this position. It’s cool, we’ll enjoy it, but we’ve got a job to do tomorrow.”
In Sunday's race, Newgarden drove to his third victory of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet and earned the $1 million PeopleReady Force for Good Challenge bonus. Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson finished second.
Alexander Rossi finished third in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. A second consecutive podium result this month continued a strong surge for Rossi, who has three straight top-five finishes this season.
“It was a generally good day," said Rossi. "I think Josef (Newgarden) had a little bit better pace than us. I think we were the second-best car. I got aggressive on the last restart just to do something and overstepped a little and I let Marcus (Ericsson) go past. I don’t know that we would have been able to win. We got held up a little bit with Scott McLaughlin coming into the pits when we were trying to leave during the first sequence. From then on it was really just about closing the gap to Josef. A little disappointing but all-in-all I think it was a positive weekend for a lot of reasons.”
It was Rossi's Ttird-career podium finish at Elkhart Lake’s Road America. He had the fastest lap of the race...135.224 mph (106.8628 sec) on Lap 13.
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