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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Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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