Fifth Gear: Gallagher Grand Prix – INDYCAR

July 31, 2022 by No Comments

When Alexander Rossi pulled off the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Saturday with his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race win in more than three years – 1,133 days, to be exact – the first person to get within earshot was fellow Andretti Autosport driver Colton Herta.

Yes, it was Herta’s mechanical failure as the leader on Lap 42 of the Gallagher Grand Prix that keyed Rossi’s victory in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. But such disappointment is part of the sport, and Rossi has had his share of it since winning the 2019 race at Road America.

“It sucks what happened to Colton, but I’ve had my share of it,” Rossi said. “It comes full circle, I guess, sometimes. So, it’s good to be up there.”

It seems incomprehensible that Rossi, the winner of the 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and seven other series races, would go so long without reaching victory lane, but this is a challenging and competitive sport, and it can often be cruel when dishing out results.

Rossi was on his way to victory in the 2020 race in St. Petersburg when he inexplicably hit the wall in Turn 3 after leading 61 laps. Ten times in the past 49 races he had finished on the podium, but he had only led 50 laps outside of that St. Petersburg race.

The first word Rossi used Saturday to describe his emotion was “relief.” He could have used “finally.”

“It’s human nature to start to question things when it continually doesn’t kind of fall your way,” he said. “You just have to remember that you’ve done it before, you can do it again – that type of thing. It’s nice to re-establish that.

“This sport is so much about ‘you’re as good as your last race,’ and it doesn’t matter who you are. You have to go out there every weekend and kind of prove yourself.”

Herta and Rossi combined to lead 61 of the 85 laps, and Rossi scored the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES race win for Michael Andretti’s Indianapolis-based organization since Herta won the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS road course on May 14.

“As challenging as it (has been) for me, it’s also hard for the team,” said Rossi, who led the final 44 laps for his eighth victory in the series. “They go in every day and work their butts off, and when they don’t get results, it’s hard for them, as well.

“I think as a unit, that’s one of our strengths being able to continue to just push forward. It’s a big team win and a big thank you (goes) to the whole organization. Obviously, the cars were fast.”

Rossi became the fourth NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver to score a win on both the oval and the road course at IMS. The others: Scott Dixon, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.

Lundgaard Takes Control of Rookie Battle

Christian Lundgaard’s career-best second-place finish in the No. 30 Shield Cleansers Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing gave him a cushion over David Malukas in the Rookie of the Year pursuit. Lundgaard expanded his lead from four points to 27 points.

Lundgaard said the team has had a strong past six weeks after struggling earlier in the season.

“We saw sort of a streak where we started to perform better,” he said. “Even (at) Road America, Mid-Ohio, (performance) was there. We …….



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