Rossi Brings Home P2 in Texas

June 09, 2019

Second place finishes can be heartbreaking. Especially when all three have come within a grueling five-week stretch of on-track action and some of the toughest races on the calendar. Like the Indy 500, Texas Motor Speedway doesn’t have a podium celebration (only the winner gets a trophy). But Alexander Rossi was probably glad he didn’t have to grin through a P2 champagne shower on Saturday night in Forth Worth. 

Starting 11th on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval, Rossi quickly moved into the top 10 when the green flag flew for the always-dramatic 248-lap event. As the first stint passed and leader Takuma Sato encountered trouble in his first pit stop, the frontrunners were Rossi, teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon. 

The first caution came out on Lap 136 when seventh-placed Zach Veach clipped the wall exiting Turn 2. Several drivers took the opportunity to pit, including Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden who had been running around P8 for most of the race. With just over 50 laps remaining, Rossi and Dixon traded for the lead a couple times, while Hunter-Reay was battling a fuel number. As the frontrunners began to pit, Newgarden took advantage of clean air and acquired the lead. 

Down the back straight on Lap 229, Rookie Colton Herta was challenging Dixon for a top spot, and Rossi was in the mix just behind them. With Herta on the inside and Dixon giving a tight squeeze, the two collected one another and the pair was eliminated. But in arguably the best save of the year, Rossi narrowly missed the collision and brilliantly steered his way out of a potential spin.

After the clean-up, Rossi was second behind Newgarden for the final restart on Lap 236. With the crowd roaring in the closing laps, Rossi was all over the leader and pulled alongside numerous times in an attempt at victory. But Newgarden successfully protected the inside line and the young American rivals are still 1-2 in the Championship. 

"I think we had a good car, could obviously get a good run on him off of (Turns) 3 and 4," Rossi said. "Lane 2 (the outside line) was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside (but) would have to bail out.

"Ultimately, then it became about trying to beat him for the (start/finish) line. But we took out a lot of the tire life going in Lane 2 there, so we just didn't have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him. I didn't see him up front all day. All of a sudden, he appears in P1. He had a fast car once he got in front.”

Graham Rahal finished third, rookie Santino Ferrucci fourth and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth. It marked the first time Americans swept the top five spots in an Indy car race since 2001. RESULTS// RACE REPORT

An encore telecast of the DXC Technology 600 airs at 3 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN.  The next NTT IndyCar Series race is the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America on Sunday, June 23. Live race coverage starts at noon ET on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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