When Alexander Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 last year, naysayers claimed a lucky strategy helped him make it to the finish when the race turned into a fuel-mileage competition.
But for this year’s Indy 500, he qualified third and led 23 laps. He ended up seventh, but his performance was worthy of a podium — to say the least.
As for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, his No. 98 Honda was one of strongest cars in the field. Rossi led 44 of 200 laps and battled Team Penske drivers Josef Newgarden and Will Power for the win as the race came to an end.
Power earned the victory, but Rossi still came home with a third-place finish. For a driver who competed on road courses to climb the ranks to Formula 1 in Europe, transitioning to ovals shouldn’t have been as natural as it did for him as drivers usually need to adjust their approach to fast, high-banked circuits.
But Rossi humbly said the cars his team builds are the reason for his success on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono tracks. Except for last year’s event at Pocono, where he wrecked with Helio Castroneves and Charlie Kimball on pit lane, he’s never finished worse than seventh at either venue.
“I love these types of tracks,” Rossi said. “Andretti Autosport does an amazing job with these superspeedways. It’s not me; it’s the car. You can’t drive a car on an oval if it’s not good. It‘s me just being very fortunate to be with such a great team at these types of tracks.”
Rossi is eighth in the standings with three events left in the season. Pocono was his second podium of the year. His first came at Toronto, where he finished second.
“It was good to get a (good) result; disappointing to miss the win,” he said. “But we’ll take it and keep pushing for the next three races.”
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.