That One Yellow Flag

March 26, 2019

The inaugural INDYCAR Classic at Circuit of the Americas was looking like a solid podium finish for Alexander Rossi. Battling to take the lead from Will Power, the No. 27 machine never appeared outside of the top three and the NAPA Racing crew had a near flawless performance in the pits.

"The NAPA AUTO PARTS car was awesome,” said Rossi. "Will (Power) and I were in a league of our own. For the first two-thirds of the race, it was just me and Will - especially in the third stint, we were both fast and were able to gap ourselves from the rest of the field."

In the final 20 laps (of 60), Rossi was catching Power. As the two pulled away from the remainder of the field, the racing strategy began to unfold perfectly. But just as the final pit stop sequence began, a caution came out over the 20-turn course that benefited some and challenged most. Power and Rossi were yet to pit, and under caution, the field packed up behind them and they were passed by every un-lapped runner. Power’s day got worse when a mechanical failure left him stranded in his pit box. [VIDEO RECAP]

With only 11 laps remaining once the race returned to green, Rossi had been shuffled back to 14th. As usual, he impressively picked his way through the field to climb five positions and bring the NAPA AUTO PARTS machine across the finish line in ninth, his second top-10 finish of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season.

"It was going to be a pretty awesome race between the two of us there on new (Firestone) Reds, but never got the opportunity with the yellow,” said Rossi. "From there the day was kind of over, it's unfortunate we never got a shot to play it out. We'll move on and focus forward on the races ahead.”

Colton Herta, aged 18 years, became the youngest ever winner of an IndyCar race. Josef Newgarden was second and Rossi's teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was third. [FULL RESULTS

The team heads back to Indianapolis for a quick break before returning to NTT IndyCar Series competition at Barber Motorsports park on April 7. The green flag will wave over the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at 4:30 p.m. ET with live coverage beginning on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET.

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