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Rossi settles for P3 in Texas after intense battle with Pagenaud

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While Scott Dixon was running away in the final laps of the DXC Technology 600 on his way to victory, Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud waged a thrilling duel for second.

Rossi, who started eighth, was on the charge from the outset – he jumped up to fifth in the opening handful of laps – and was in contention for the win late in race, running third behind Pagenaud and Dixon on a restart with 34 laps remaining.

He tried passing Pagenaud on the outside entering Turn 1 on a number of occasions, even getting a nose ahead at times on corner entry, but Pagenaud held him at bay every single time.

It left Rossi to settle for P3, his fifth podium of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

FORT WORTH, TX – JUNE 09: Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet, and Alexander Rossi, driver of the #27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda, race during the Verizon IndyCar Series DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Rossi explained afterward that he was keen to not take unnecessary chances, especially in the wake of his error at the end of Race 2 from the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Rossi even had a scary moment as well, braking loose in Turn 1 at one point while trying to pass Pagenaud. As a result, Rossi was sure to keep himself in check and not do anything overzealous.

“I tried I think on the penultimate restart to go high on Simon in lane two on Turn 1. That was pretty bad, almost catastrophic. After that, I realized lane two wasn’t really going to be an option for us,” Rossi explained.

Still, Rossi never felt that Pagenaud did anything dirty that put them in danger. Rather, he admitted that Pagenaud did a fine job of simply defending his position.

“Despite the runs I had, Simon was doing a good job covering the line into one,” Rossi revealed. “After last weekend, there was really no point in taking unnecessary risks. But the NAPA car was good enough to fight Scott (Dixon) probably. I don’t know if we had enough to beat him. But I think we were really good on tire life, ultimate pace.”

Rossi now sits second in the championship standings, 23 points behind new leader Scott Dixon

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IndyCar: Ed Carpenter Racing signs Ed Jones for road, street course races in 2019

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2017 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Ed Jones has signed on to compete in IndyCar road and street course races in 2019 for Ed Carpenter Racing, the team announced Wednesday.

Jones replaces Jordan King at ECR, whose contract was not renewed for 2019.

“Joining Ed Carpenter Racing and Scuderia Corsa for the 2019 IndyCar Series is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of,” Jones said in a media release.

Jones will also drive a third car for ECR in the 2019 Indianapolis 500, making it 13 races of the 17-race IndyCar schedule that he’s due to compete in.

“Ed Carpenter Racing has shown amazing speed the last few years at the Indianapolis 500,” Jones said. “You can always expect the ECR cars to be at the front. I am really grateful for this chance and will do everything I can to make sure we, as a team, make the most of it.”

In addition, Las Vegas-based Scuderia Corsa will become a partner with ECR on Jones’ No. 20 Chevrolet (as well as the No. 64 Chevy he’ll drive in the Indy 500).

“Both ECR and Scuderia Corsa have been successful in their respective series and I feel the combination of forces will be greatly beneficial,” Jones said. “I’m extremely excited to get underway.”

Jones will yield driving duties in the No. 20 Chevy for four races to team owner Ed Carpenter on oval tracks, while Spencer Pigot returns as the team’s full-time driver in the No. 21 Chevrolet.

“I am very excited to welcome Ed Jones to the ECR family, as well as Scuderia Corsa and Giacomo (Scuderia Corsa co-founder Giacomo Mattioli),” Carpenter said. “I was very surprised when Ed became available at the end of the season. I look forward to working together to get ECR back in Victory Lane.”

The 23-year-old Jones, who hails from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, previously drove for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018 (finished 13th in the final season standings) and Dale Coyne Racing in 2017 (finished 14th). He won the Indy Lights championship in 2016, as did new teammate Pigot in 2015.

During the 2018 season, Jones had two podium finishes (Long Beach and Belle Isle II) and eight top-10 finishes in the 17-race campaign.

Since forming in 2012, Scuderia Corsa has earned more than 100 wins over numerous racing platforms, primarily sports-car based. However, it made its first foray into IndyCar racing by backing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and driver Oriol Servia’s effort in the 2018 Indy 500.

Jones began his new job with ECR immediately, watching new boss Carpenter take part today (Wednesday) in a closed Firestone tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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