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Alexander Rossi wins pole over Will Power at Long Beach

Alexander Rossi wins pole over Will Power at Long Beach”

Alexander Rossi dominated the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. The Andretti Autosport driver made up for it in dominant fashion, completing a almost flawless weekend with a flawless drive to win today's race. The 26-year-old Californian crossed the finish line 1.2413 seconds ahead of Will Power at Rossi's "second home race", grabbing the championship lead in the process.

The way Alexander Rossi sees it, he should be undefeated this season.

"When you look at what Rossi did this weekend... man, really, really, really strong. It's a true privilege to be able to drive for them, and I'm glad we were able to put on an awesome show for him today". "This is one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons".

Rossi opened a nine-second lead after the first cycle of pit stops, and he stayed in front after a full-course caution erased the lead with 40 laps to go.

Rossi will start the race at the storied venue from the pole after a calculated late qualifying run proved that his Honda from Andretti Autosport is the fastest auto in the field.

Rossi started from pole and took an early lead that was wiped away with a first-lap caution after Graham Rahal hit Simon Pagenaud, sending the Frenchman into the first turn wall and out of the race.

Rossi comfortably earned the second pole of his three-year IndyCar career during qualifying, and his pace was still there in the race.

"The crowds here, and just the whole atmosphere is so welcoming and inviting". He had been off to a discouraging start to the season, with his Team Penske Chevrolet back in 14th in the points standings before his standout drive in Long Beach. It was the 63rd career podium finish for the 37-year-old Australian, ranking him 16th on the all-time Indy vehicle list.

"I just ran out of talent momentarily", said Newgarden, last week's race victor at Phoenix. I am sure he was using push-to-pass and the Hondas are just a little bit better out of the hairpin. "I really think we had the speed there to challenge".

"We've been so strong, and we were strong here previous year", said Rossi, an Indianapolis 500 victor and one of the recent stars of the reality TV show "The Amazing Race". Once we got heat in the tires, it was better. It's a pleasure to be able to come here and race.

I will take some solace in that I predicted Dixon's new teammate, Ed Jones, would nab the first top-five of his CGR career, and I was right on the money with that one. Coupled with Rossi's win and Marco Andretti's charge from 20th on the starting grid to place sixth, it gave Andretti Autosport three of the first six finishers.

Pagenaud started third, but the Frenchman was spun and knocked out of the race on the first turn of the opening lap by Rahal, who braked far too late and tapped Pagenaud from the rear.

Britain's Jordan King spoiled Bourdais' race in the latter stages after going into the back of the St.Petersberg victor at the final hairpin on lap 72 leading to a partial blockage of the track, this incident came after the rookie came into the pits to try and re-bleed the brakes after complaints of a long brake pedal.

Will Power, who started alongside Rossi on Row 1, finished second, 1.2413 back. Once the race restarted on Lap 45, Scott Dixon restarted in second behind Rossi with Sebastien Bourdais behind him but the three-time Long Beach victor would find his way past Dixon while also overtaking the lapped vehicle of Spencer Pigot at the same time in a three-wide pass that came straight out of a video game.

Despite being brought back into the field numerous times thanks to a handful of caution periods over the course of the 85 laps, the 2016 Indy 500 victor was able to pull away from the chasing pack with relative ease at every time of asking, even on the final restart where Will Power hounded the local driver right to the chequered flag.

Quote of the weekend: "I was just asking (Rossi) how the (heck) he went so fast".

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action Sunday, April 22 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the scenic Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Alabama.



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