SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Alexander Rossi found himself in victory lane for the first time in three years Saturday, taking the checkered flag in the Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The last time Rossi won an IndyCar race was at Road America during the 2019 season.
“It’s a relief man, It’s been so many things for so long,” said Rossi. “Thankfully something came our way. There are still five races to go, but to come back and win at Indianapolis is pretty amazing.”
The race would be key in the race for the season championship, with Marcus Ericsson leading the standings heading into the day, but a 25th starting position put that lead in jeopardy after having to bow out of qualifying on Friday with electrical issues in the car.
That proved fortunate for Will Power, who was just 8-points behind Ericsson in the standings when the green flag dropped.
Pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist led a handful of laps in the early going, keeping the lead despite an early caution involving Power and Pato O’Ward, who spun out on the first lap. O’Ward would eventually finish 12th. Power would pit on the third lap to go on a different strategy for the time being.
Colton Herta, the winner of the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course back in May, would inherit the lead. Swapping it back and forth with Power on the cycle of the different pit strategies. over the course of the middle third of the race.
A caution on Lap 36 for Simon Pagenaud stalling on the backstretch would allow Herta to keep the lead through the second round of stops.
Eight laps later, Herta hit a curb on the esses of the course, and his car lost power and slowed. It would end his day with yet another disappointing result.
Rossi, who had run in the top five all day, would inherit the lead due to Herta’s misfortune.
Through the final round of pitstops, Rossi never relinquished the lead and cruised to his first win in 49 IndyCar races. Danish driver, and rookie, Christian Lundgaard came home second, a career-best finish for Lundgaard and his first podium.
“It feels like a win, for sure,” said Lundgaard of the result. “The Andretti car just had so much better power today. The result speaks for itself, we knew we had a strong car.”
Will Power was able to salvage a third-place finish, despite his early spin. The result is not only his seventh podium of the season, but he also takes over the lead in the championship standings.
“Crazy start, but a great recovery,” Power said. “Consistency was the goal. We just gotta keep doing what we know. You have to take what you can get every race day.”
Power now has a nine-point advantage on Marcus Ericsson atop the championship chase. Josef Newgarden, with a 5th-place finish, now sits solely in third ahead of Scott Dixon.
Ericsson was able to finish 11th overcoming his last place starting spot.
After a busy month of July, the series will have next weekend off as the teams gear up for a street race in Nashville on August 7th.
— Kurt Darling (@WIBCKurtDarling) July 30, 2022