(LONG POND, PA) – For the second consecutive IndyCar Series race, Alexander Rossi put together a dominantly triumphant performance. On Sunday, he won the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway and made the season championship battle tighter in the process.
The race was delayed nearly two hours by a red-flag stoppage for track fencing repairs following a five-car incident on Lap 7. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens sustained orthopedic injuries in the crash and was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA, where he was being evaluated Sunday night.
Rossi, driving the No. 27 Honda, led 180 of the 200 laps on the 2.5-mile triangular oval. He took the checkered flag 4.4982 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power to collect his third win this season and second in as many races, on the heels of a July 29 triumph in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
The victory allowed Rossi to close within 29 points of championship leader Scott Dixon, who finished third in the race, with three races remaining on the schedule.
“The fact that we were able to (win the race) is just a testament to the car I had from Andretti Autosport; really, the work that my teammate Zach Veach put in at the test here last week,” Rossi said. “We were able to roll off instantly competitive and strong. It was a big team win from that standpoint and a great day for the NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti crew.”
Starting from the pole for the 53rd time in his career, Power led the 22-car field to the green flag in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet. The caution flag waved almost immediately when Graham Rahal ran into the back of Spencer Pigot as they reached the front straight.
Pigot’s No. 21 careened into the inside wall between pit lane and the track to bring out the yellow flag.
The race restarted on Lap 6 with Rossi getting the jump on Power to take the lead into Turn 1. As the field reached Turn 2, Wickens’ No. 6 SPM Honda made light contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay. As they slid toward the barrier on the outside wall, Wickens’ car launched over the front of Hunter-Reay’s car and into the catch fencing, where it spun violently before landing on the track.
“(Wickens) had a run out of Turn 1, came up along the side of me, but I was in the draft of Power in front of me, so I started pulling ahead,” said Hunter-Reay. “Once we got to (Turn) 2, he was at my (left rear) corner at best. I even gave room. I was pretty shocked I got hit in the back. That is neither here nor there right now. We’re just thinking about Robert. It’s all very, very unfortunate.”
Wickens was awake and alert when attended to by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team and INDYCAR Medical staff. Hunter-Reay was uninjured.
James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato, and Pietro Fittipaldi, whose cars were also collected in the incident, were likewise uninjured, but eliminated from the race. The remaining cars running were ordered to pit lane and the race halted for 1:56:00 to allow for repair of the catch fencing.
Following the restart on Lap 12, the race ran under green-flag conditions to the finish.
“It means a lot to win any race for Andretti Autosport,” Rossi said. “They have such a legacy in the sport, to be able to add to that in a very small way is a huge honor of mine. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to do that a couple more times this year and we’ll be able to close it out with a championship.”
Dixon, in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, gained the most positions from start to finish (10) and notched his seventh podium finish of the season. The 38 year-old New Zealander is seeking his fifth IndyCar Series championship.
“Somewhat of a frustrating day,” Dixon said. “Nice to get some points out of it. Obviously, we took a bit of a hit there with Rossi (winning). Congrats to him.”
After 14 races, Dixon has accumulated 530 points to 501 for Rossi. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, the reigning series champion, and who finished the race in fifth place, has 464 points. Power is fourth at 449 and Hunter-Reay fifth with 411.
The top 10 drivers remain mathematically alive for the championship heading to the next race, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, August 25.
Official results from Pocono
- 1. (3) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running
- 2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
- 3. (13) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
- 4. (8) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 200, Running
- 5. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 199, Running
- 6. (7) Zach Veach, Honda, 199, Running
- 7. (11) Marco Andretti, Honda, 199, Running
- 8. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 199, Running
- 9. (19) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 198, Running
- 10. (15) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Running
- 11. (20) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 197, Running
- 12. (12) Ed Jones, Honda, 197, Running
- 13. (21) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 196, Running
- 14. (18) Graham Rahal, Honda, 196, Running
- 15. (22) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 162, Contact
- 16. (16) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 17, Contact
- 17. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 16, Mechanical
- 18. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 6, Contact
- 19. (6) Robert Wickens, Honda, 6, Contact
- 20. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 6, Contact
- 21. (10) Takuma Sato, Honda, 6, Contact
- 22. (17) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 6, Contact