Dominant performance in Detroit Race 2 ends in frustration for Rossi

Photo: IndyCar

Simply put, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi dominated Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Starting from the pole, Rossi led 48 laps and spent the majority of the race in control as the lead driver of those on a two-stop strategy.

However, Rossi’s teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay appeared to have the measure of him on pace in the waning laps, with Hunter-Reay slashing a lead of over seven seconds – the gap between them after Hunter-Reay’s final pit stop on Lap 53 – to nearly nothing with eight laps remaining.

Rossi then fought valiantly to keep Hunter-Reay behind him, but with Hunter-Reay clearly faster in the final laps, it was always going to be a daunting task for Rossi.

However, a day that would have seen Rossi finish no worse than second came completely undone with seven laps remaining. Rossi had suffered brake lockup entering Turn 3 with eight laps left, and a subsequent lockup one lap later saw him go into the Turn 3 runoff area.

Rossi was able to rejoin, but needed to pit after suffering a flat left-front tire. He limped home in 12th, a frustrating end to an otherwise dominant day.

“It was a pretty disappointing day considering we led the most laps and started on pole,” Rossi lamented. “For sure we didn’t have the pace for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) – he was just on another level. So hats off to him and the DHL team, they certainly deserved to win. But the Ruoff Home Mortgage car definitely had a second-place finish in it. Unfortunately, with less than 10 laps to go, our luck changed. We’re not really sure what happened, we’re going to investigate to see if something went wrong because it was a very abnormal issue to have when we hadn’t experienced anything remotely similar all weekend.”

Rossi, who led the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings following Race 1, fell to third after Sunday’s race, six points behind Scott Dixon and 11 points behind points leader Will Power.