IMS IndyCar: Rossi ends win drought, heartache for Herta
Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Alexander Rossi won the Gallagher GP on the Indy road course, taking the lead after teammate Colton Herta’s car expired at half-distance, while Will Power took the points lead with a charge into third place.
At the start, Arrow McLaren SP’s polesitter Felix Rosenqvist led away from Rossi, while Penske’s Josef Newgarden made a brilliant inside maneuver to leap up from fifth into third. Herta made an even bolder maneuver from ninth up the outside of Turn 1 which squeezed Power into Pato O’Ward, spinning the second AMSP car and obliging Power to stand on the brakes and lose a ton of places, like O’Ward.
The first lap ended with Rosenqvist leading Rossi, Newgarden and Herta up from ninth, followed by Christian Lundgaard (RLL), Conor Daly, Devlin DeFrancesco and Palou.
The yellow that followed a Turn 3 spin from Dalton Kellett allowed Power and and O’Ward to pit for reds, and also allowed Race Control to shuffle Newgarden back two places for exceeding track limits.
At the Lap 4 restart, Rossi tried to pass Rosenqvist into Turn 1 and ran wide, allowing newly elevated Herta around his outside and into second. Then Herta passed Rosenqvist at Turn 7 and three corners later Rossi made it an Andretti 1-2, and into Turn 1 on Lap 9 Lundgaard passed the polesitter for third.
Newgarden closed on the AMSP car pursued closely by Scott McLaughlin, Devlin DeFrancesco, Palou and Harvey.
A rash of pitstops from fast cars at the end of Lap 11 included stops for Palou, Scott Dixon and Rinus VeeKay. Newgarden, Daly and Rahal stopped two laps later, but it was a disaster for Daly who appeared to stall.
McLaughlin, who had been the highest starter on reds, moved past Rosenqvist to claim what would be the lead, as Herta, Rossi, and Lundgaard also pitted from the top three spots. Eleven seconds behind McLaughlin ran Ericsson who had started last after engine issues in practice, with teammate Jimmie Johnson two seconds behind.
Not gaining on Johnson but running fourth, fifth and sixth – clearly trying to feather-foot their throttles, save fuel and get back nearer the ‘regular’ strategy – were the early stoppers Power, O’Ward and Takuma Sato.
McLaughlin and Ericsson pitted at the end of Lap 22, and Johnson a lap later, leaving Power, O’Ward and Sato up front, with Power holding a 5sec lead on the AMSP drivers.
McLaughlin emerged in seventh with his primaries, ahead of Newgarden and Palou, while Ericsson, having been a dozen seconds back, came out in 18th.
On Lap 26, Herta, Rossi and Lundgaard passed Sato on his tired reds and ekeing fuel l to move into third, fourth and fifth. Herta then moved past O’Ward at Turn 1 on Lap 28 to gain second, and started trying to close down the five second gap to Power. Rossi, too, demoted O’Ward at the same place next time by, and Lundgaard zapped the AMSP car at Turn 7 half a lap later.
Less than two seconds behind Sato, McLaughlin was doing a fine job on the unfavored primaries to keep his advantage over Newgarden at 2.5sec and as the early stoppers pulled in he would move up to fourth.
O’Ward and Sato stopped on Lap 31, Power on Lap 32, leaving Herta up front. Power emerged in 19th.
Palou was struggling on reds behind Newgarden, and after he was passed by Simon Pagenaud, Rosenqvist and Rinus VeeKay, he pitted for the second time.
Herta’s lead on Lap 35 was 2.3sec ahead of Rossi who was being pressured by Lundgaard. Eight seconds down in fourth was McLaughlin 1sec ahead of Newgarden until Lap 36 when the latter moved past, just before the yellows flew for Pagenaud running out of fuel on track and needing pulled into a safe spot.
This triggered almost everyone to dash into the pits. They emerged in the order Herta, Rossi, Lundgaard, while Power and Johnson after their recent stops cycled back into fourth and fifth, ahead of McLaughlin, Newgarden, while O’Ward and Sato benefited in the same manner as Power and Johnson to move into the Top 10 ahead of VeeKay and Rosenqvist.
The Lap 40 restart was clean, Herta pulling clear of Rossi and Lundgaard. Power, still needing to save fuel, took it easy, staying just out of reach of Johnson who had McLaughlin, Newgarden and VeeKay behind him.
Suddenly leader Herta slowed, the engine sounding like it was running but the transmission sounding like he couldn’t find a gear, after smacking the Turn 8 curbs. The #26 AA-Honda sauntered to a halt at pitlane entry.
That left Rossi out front and over the next three laps he extended his margin over Lundgaard to 3.3sec. Around 4.5sec back ran Power, a second ahead of McLaughlin, Newgarden, VeeKay and Graham Rahal after Johnson tumbled down the order soon after McLaughlin muscled past on the back straight. Johnson then let Dixon past into eighth.
On Lap 51, with 34 laps to go, Ericsson moved past Harvey to grab 13th and close on Sato, who he passed on Lap 54.
A couple of laps later, Power started putting in his fastest laps of the race to stretch out his advantage over McLaughlin to two seconds ahead of the final round of stops, although he was still eight seconds behind Lundgaard.
Power, O’Ward, Dixon and Sato ducked into the pits at the end of Lap 59, and so they didn’t get caught out by the undercut Newgarden, Rahal and VeeKay stopped next time by, with the leaders following suit on the lap after that.
On emerging from the pits, Rossi’s lead over Lundgaard had been cut from 4.1sec down to 2.6, while Power was seven seconds further back but ahead of McLaughlin, Newgarden, VeeKay, Rahal, Dixon, Rosenqvist and Palou completing the top 10. Ericsson ran 11th, just ahead of one of his title rivals, O’Ward who would struggle over this final stint.
With 15 laps to go, Rossi had eased out a 3.4sec lead over Lundgaard, who was 8.3sec ahead of Power, who was managing his 1sec margin over McLaughlin who had stopped two laps later, like Rossi and Lundgaard. McLaughlin was 2.5 ahead of Newgarden who ran a second ahead of VeeKay. Rahal, 2.4sec down, was 2sec ahead of Dixon.
Rossi had nudged his lead over Lundgaard past the 4sec mark, until he got caught behind Kellett, at which point he lost 1.5sec, the RLL driver exaggerating the loss by hitting his push-to-pass boost. However, in clean air Rossi responded and pulled his lead out to more than 4sec once more.
Power’s fuel-saving efforts briefly left him vulnerable to McLaughlin, but he steadied his advantage at around 1sec, as McLaughlin had a similar margin over Newgarden, the pair of them having dropped VeeKay. Power’s cause wasn’t helped by coming up to lap Johnson, but he would hold on.
The day belonged to Rossi who scored his eighth IndyCar victory, his first since Road America in 2019, winning by 3.5sec over Lundgaard who scored RLL’s first podium after a torrid season.
Power scored the seventh podium of his season and moved into the lead of the championship by nine points.
||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||85||1:48'42.7266||3.5441||119.880||3|
Rinus van Kalmthout
||Ed Carpenter Racing||85||1:49'02.1451||22.9626||118.595||3|
||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||85||1:49'02.5367||23.3542||119.021||3|
||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||1:49'02.7955||23.6130||119.342||3|
||Arrow McLaren SP||85||1:49'03.6484||24.4659||119.611||3|
||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||1:49'06.8226||27.6401||119.445||3|
||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||1:49'14.2599||35.0774||116.633||3|
||Arrow McLaren SP||85||1:49'22.2466||43.0641||118.771||3|
||Dale Coyne Racing||85||1:49'29.3693||50.1868||119.689||3|
||Juncos Hollinger Racing||85||1:49'31.1026||51.9201||110.808||3|
||Dale Coyne Racing||85||1:49'36.2894||57.1069||118.559||3|
||Ed Carpenter Racing||85||1:49'39.3141||1'00.1316||118.531||3|
||Meyer Shank Racing||85||1:49'42.6509||1'03.4684||117.503||4|
||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||85||1:49'43.7822||1'04.5997||117.447||3|
||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||84||1:48'48.8874||1 Lap||118.267||3|
||Chip Ganassi Racing||84||1:48'59.5642||1 Lap||111.923||3|
||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||84||1:49'18.1559||1 Lap||119.253||5|
||Andretti Autosport||42||1:01'48.1614||43 Laps||20.592||3||Mechanical|
||Meyer Shank Racing||34||43'33.7245||51 Laps||120.046||1||Spun off|
|View full results|
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