Alexander Rossi dominant in winning second consecutive at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, Fla. – Alexander Rossi won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole position for the second consecutive year, dominating Sunday’s race from start to finish.

The Andretti Autosport driver scored his first victory of the 2019 season and sixth of his NTT IndyCar Series career in becoming the first back-to-back winner in Long Beach since Sebastien Bourdais won three straight from 2005-07 on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit.

Rossi, a 27-year-old native of Nevada City, Calif., said it was the 200th win across all racing series (including IndyCar, Indy Lights, Global Rallycross and more) for team owner Michael Andretti.

“What better way to do it than in that kind of fashion in California,” Rossi told NBCSN after his first win since Pocono last August. “I have a great car and a great crew behind me. Couldn’t do it without them.

“I just found out that my grandfather died yesterday. I want to dedicate it to him.”

Josef Newgarden finished second. After a stewards’ review of a last-lap incident, Graham Rahal was ruled to have blocked Scott Dixon, who was awarded third place. Rahal finished fourth, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Rossi led 80 of 85 laps and won by more than 20 seconds while yielding the lead briefly twice during green-flag pit stop cycles.

It’s the largest margin of victory at Long Beach since Al Unser Jr. won by more than 23 seconds in 1995. That was aided by an incident-free race (a three-lap caution on Lap 1 was the only yellow), and Rossi’s impressive lap Saturday that put him on the pole.

“I know it was maybe not the most exciting race, but I can tell you for Alex he loved that boring race,” Andretti said. “He drove flawlessly all weekend. That lap he did qualifying I think was the difference as well. To be able to start on pole here is a big advantage. That was really the big difference.”

Said Rossi: “You cherish those days where you can just kind of go out there, not have too much stress. They’re hard to come by. Probably happens once every couple years. I love today. I definitely won’t get used to it, though. It’s certainly not something that is going to happen week in, week out.”

With the victory, Rossi moved ahead of Dixon into second in the championship standings, 28 points behind Newgarden, and he will be among the prohibitive favorites to become a repeat Indianapolis 500 winner next month.

“I think he’s a great driver,” Andretti said. “I think we saw in him from the moment he sat in one of our cars, we knew we had someone special here. He’s been great to have as a part of the team. He spends a lot of time at the race shop. He’s become a part of this team and a part of we call it a family. It’s been great. I hope he can be here for many, many years.

“What he’s done the last couple years is pretty amazing. He’s special. He really loves (Long Beach). He does really well around here.”

Rossi became the ninth driver to win multiple races at Long Beach, joining Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi, Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Mike Conway. He is the sixth to win the marquee event in consecutive years.

Click here for the complete results of the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

UP NEXT: The IndyCar circuit heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the May 11 prelude to NBC’s debut broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26.

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

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“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

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Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

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Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

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