Madison, IL (Aug 26, 2017) – On Saturday night, Alexander Rossi finished a strong sixth at Gateway Motorsports Park, and also moved up to seventh in the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. In a weekend where the Team Penske Chevrolet’s were fastest on the short oval, Rossi and his Andretti Autosport Honda was able to run up front with the leaders throughout the evening.
The race marked the Verizon IndyCar Series' return to the St. Louis region for the first time in 14 years. A packed main grandstand cheered and remained standing for most of the 248 laps on the 1.25-mile oval.
"It was a pretty hard night, but I think the whole NAPA Auto Parts team really capitalized on the opportunities that were given to us,” said Rossi. "To come home sixth on a track that's dominant for the other manufacturer, I think is a solid result and that's what we were looking for all weekend.”
Rossi qualified ninth on Friday evening and his teammate Takuma Sato qualified sixth. Eventual pole-sitter Will Power's first lap of 189.709 mph shattered the 20-year-old track record set by Raul Boesel in 1997. However, Power’s dominance ended right after the green flag when he spun in Turn 2 and made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier. Ed Carpenter and Sato were also taken out in the first-lap mishap. Rossi ran as high as P5 in the race.
"Maybe we could have been a couple spots higher, but at the end of the night, we brought the car home and that was a solid race,” said Rossi. "The pace was good and there was really nothing to complain about on a track where we knew we were going to be at a deficit. It's nice to come away with a top six (finish)."
"Happy for another good finish, happy to move up in the points,” said said Rob Edwards, Strategist for No. 98 and Chief Operating Officer for Andretti Autosport. "Great work in the pits from the guys on the last stop and another solid drive from Alexander. Looking forward to Watkins Glen and building on our strong test a couple of weeks ago."
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden went on to win the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline, and his teammate Simon Pagenaud was third. Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second. The Verizon IndyCar Series travels to Watkins Glen International Raceway for the third of three back-to-back race weekends.
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