Troubles in Iowa, Still in Championship Hunt

July 09, 2018

After strong pre-race testing for Andretti Autosport, Alexander Rossi went into the 300-lap Iowa Corn 300 with high hopes of a victory or podium finish. He started P5 on the grid, the highest in his three years racing at Iowa Speedway. But the compressed weekend schedule made it tough to predict race conditions. 

Saturday evening’s practice was the first for long group runs, and speed and passing came easy for Rossi and the 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda. But temperatures were notably warmer for the 1:40 P.M. start time on Sunday, and teams had to do some guessing for their set-ups. Rossi struggled with a loose car from the beginning, but held a spot in the top six for the first stint. 

Unfortunately, bad luck hit as the car stalled coming out of his first pit stop. After losing positions on track, Rossi had to contend with traffic and tricky maneuvering around the 7/8-mile short oval. But with other teams experiencing handling issues and bad luck throughout the race, he worked his way back to P10. 

“Today was difficult,” said Rossi. "From the beginning it seemed like we didn’t have the car that we had Saturday. I was really fighting it and we made some improvements throughout the race and the NAPA AUTO PARTS team stuck in there, so big credit to them. Our car was just too far out of the window to start with to be super competitive. I guess the one positive is some guys had a worse day then we did. So, we just have to take what we can get on days like this and look forward to Toronto.” 
On lap 294, a yellow flag came out for light contact between Ed Carpenter and Takuma Sato. Officials were unable to get the race restarted, and it finished under caution. As the re-order procedure was incomplete at the checkered flag, INDYCAR had determined the finishing order based on the order of the cars as they crossed the blend line on Lap 298, placing Rossi in 10th. After review, INDYCAR officials determined that the No. 27 car, in fact, finished ninth ahead of Ed Carpenter, who pitted during the caution period.

James Hinchcliffe won the race for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. This is the seventh different race winner in the 11 races so far this season. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot was second, and Takuma Sato was third for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. For full story and results, click HERE.  

Rossi remains third in the Championship, just 41 points behind leader Scott Dixon. The Verizon IndyCar Series will head north for the Honda Indy Toronto this weekend. 


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