Alexander Rossi, Andretti, IndyCar, Long Beach, 2018

Rossi dominates in Long Beach

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Alexander Rossi dominated the third round of the 2018 IndyCar season at Long Beach, leading 71 of the 85 laps.

The Andretti driver saw was seldom challenged as a series of rivals hit trouble, beginning with Simon Pagenaud who was taken out at the first corner by Graham Rahal.

Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais fell victim to a late caution period during which both were caught out by the pits being closed. The pair had to serve drive-through penalties for the infringement.

Bourdais was also sanctioned for crossing the pit exit line while performing an audacious move on Dixon for second. He was told to relinquish the position, which he did, then immediately re-took it at turn one. A tap from Jordan King at the hairpin later in the race was the final setback which left him 14th at the flag.

Will Power chased Rossi to the flag but couldn’t get close enough to try a pass. The Penske driver pointed to his Honda-powered rival’s superior traction out of the final corner as being the key reason he couldn’t get within range.

The late shake-up in the order promoted Ed Jones to third place, equalling his career-best result, while Andretti rookie Zach Veach took fourth in only his fifth start. Rahal, who bounced back from a penalty for his clash with Pagenaud, demoted Marco Andretti for fifth. The Chevrolet in Power’s Penske was the only non-Honda engine in the top six.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden looked like a threat for victory running a three-stop strategy to counter the more conventional two-stop favoured by Rossi and several others. But another caution period took him out of contention. He came in seventh ahead of Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball.

Having impressed in the opening two races Robert Wickens could only manage 22nd after being forced into the pits with technical problems. A series of collisions left Ryan Hunter-Reay in a lowly 20th on a day when his three team mates placed in the top six.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Rossi dominates in Long Beach”

  1. This race went Rossi’s way. A 3rd yellow by Bourdais teammate costs him and Dixon some important positions. And a masterpiece strategy from Rossi making Power to spend his Push-To-Pass boost on the end. The same strategy he used on Dixon at Watkins Glen last year.

    Rossi is the only driver so far to obtain 3 podiums.

    Ed Jones also played a key defensive role holding rookie Zach Veach for the final podium spot. But Veach deserves credit for his top 5 performance. Same for graham Rahal who had to survive a penalty at the start of the race.

    And look what Formula 1 are missing.

  2. Bosco Moroz
    16th April 2018, 1:10

    Masterful Weekend by Rossi. Such a loss for F1, he is beginning to dominate Indycar with 6 podiums in last 9 races. 3 Wins now, Indy 500, Watkins Glen, and today Long Beach. Alexander Rossi, new points leader in Indycar. I have to say, I never miss F1, but Indy has made many better decisions which is providing fantastic racing. They showed where cars are faster top end but, but have to brake earlier and get on the gas later with the new 40% wing reduction, as a result passing is truly amazing. Plus the Push to Pass, while still a gimmick, at least is fair giving all drivers the same amount and no restrictions on when it is used.

    Great racing today. An absolute masterclass drive by Ricciardo in China, then Rossi destroyed them in Long Beach.

    1. Have to agree. Rossi is becoming “the man”, and his superb skills are becoming apparent wrestling, slipping / sliding this hard to drive new IndyCar. F1’s loss is IndyCar’s gain.

      Bourdais’ pass was unbelievable, one of the best ever! Too bad it was penalized.

      LOVE Long Beach. LOVE IndyCar.

      1. Bourdais’ pass was incredible. I thought i was watching a crash up until the point he didn’t hit the wall on the outside of T1. Such a shame his race would eventually go on to be ruined through no fault of his own (the rule to close pits under caution needs to be changed)

    2. One other thing that really worked in this race’s favour was the complication of traffic and how drivers are not automatically obliged to yield if fighting to stay on the lead lap. This was enhanced by the shorter length of the track (less than 2 miles) and the healthy car count (24).

      That’s something I wish F1 would embrace when they start considering post-2021 plans—if cars are able to overtake, then not all tracks need to be 3.something miles long. It would be great to see more tracks in the 2 mile or even sub–2 mile range that promote a real “bull ring” atmosphere.

      This race was 85 laps, and St Petersburg was 110 laps, which also gives spectators far more value, and in turn increases the odds of chaos and passing.

  3. THE TEDBELL
    16th April 2018, 4:06

    Moroz well written about Rossi

    His only blemish this season is when he wrecked the seasons biggest surprise Robert Wickens on the second to last lap at St Petersburg.

  4. Rossi: Ready for a return to F1 with Haas? That would be a historic unification for the USA.

    1. I’d rather see Robert Wickens get a shot , just so Lance Stroll isn’t the only one representing Canada in F1. ;)

    2. I would say to send Rossi to Renault or Force India. It is obvious that Carlos Jr would return to the primary Red Bull Team. Not so sure how Nico Hulkenburg’s future will hold.

  5. For whatever reason, Rossi was (like Bourdais said) on another planet. From 2nd through the rest of the grid the racing was fantastic! Power made things interesting at the end. Too bad he couldn’t have attempted a pass.

    Alabama GP next week should have fantastic racing too. It usually does.

  6. Just bought tickets to the Labor Day race in Portland — hope the championship is a close one at that point!

    1. Flashbacks to the late 90s. So happy they are going back.

  7. IndyCar has the best visor cams, nose cams, 360 degree roll hoop cam, rear cam… Puts you onboard and right in the action. Good stuff. The half hour race summary video is great if you didn’t / couldn’t see the race.

    1. Yeah the cams are fantastic, IndyCar is in a good place right now

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