INDYCAR: Alexander Rossi wins at Road America in dominant fashion

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After finishing second in three of the last four NTT IndyCar Series races, Alexander Rossi took the lead in lap one of Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix at Road America, and didn’t look back as he easily dominated the race to take his second victory of the season.

Rossi challenged race pole sitter Colton Herta for the lead in Turn 1 of the 14-turn Wisconsin road course, successfully passing Herta in Turn 2.

Rossi then dominated the entire 55-lap event, with no one coming close to the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda. Rossi won with a 28.4391-second margin over second place finisher Will Power.

 

“After thinking about it, this is probably the best race car I’ve ever driven,” Rossi told NBC Sports following his victory.

“Obviously you don’t want to complain too much about getting second places, because they are good results. But we knew we had the pace and I think ever since Texas when GESS Capstone came on board, we had a new partnership and we came up sort again, the motivation for this week was higher than ever.”

“We were able to execute, and huge thanks to these guys behind me,” Rossi said as he pointed to his Andretti Autosport crew, “I can’t do it without them.”

Power’s second place finish was the best of the season so far for the Team Penske driver. Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden finished third.

Newgarden, who entered the weekend with a 25 point lead over Rossi, saw his lead shrink to only seven points with Rossi’s victory, and seven races still remaining in the season, the battle for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series is still far from over.

Graham Rahal finished fourth, in a gold and black livery similar to the Miller Genuine Draft machine his father Bobby once made famous, while Scott Dixon was fifth, an impressive feat for the Kiwi considering he dropped to the 23rd position on the first lap after making contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay and spun in Turn 5.

Dixon spent the remainder of the afternoon making his way through the field in the caution-free race.

“The Car was actually pretty good,” Dixon told NBC Sports. “The whole race, you’re just thinking ‘what could have been’ had we held that position early on.”

“We could have had a good finish. Definitely [would have been] an easy podium fight there because we caught Josef and those guys really quickly.”

Dixon’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist finished sixth in the race, while Jame Hinchcliffe, Herta, Simon Pageanud and Takuma Sato rounded out the top ten.

The NTT IndyCar Series now heads North of the border for the Honda Indy Toronto on July 14. Live race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full race results

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Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”