Monday, April 16, 2018

Honda Wraps Up Dominating Motorsports Victory at Long Beach with Alexander Rossi

Race car driver Alexander Rossi and his Andretti Autosport Honda brought it home for Honda on Sunday, with a decisive victory for Honda at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Rossi, who led 71 of 85 laps, managed to fend off former series champion Will Power after a late-race caution bunched the field.

Starting from the pole, Rossi took the lead at the green flag and remained in command throughout the 85-lap event, surrendering the lead only as the field cycled through various pit stop strategies.  Although a late yellow flag bunched the field and eliminated his seven-second advantage, Rossi held off second-running Will Power over the final 10 laps, and built a 1.24-second lead at the checkers.

This victory was  Rossi's first of 2018 and his third career Indy car triumph. The win  moves him into the championship lead, with 126 points to Josef Newgarden's 104. With this event, Honda also has widened their lead in the IndyCar Manufacturers' Championship, with an unofficial total of 263 points to 193 for rival Chevrolet.

Verizon IndyCar Series sophomore Ed Jones had his best race since joining the Chip Ganassi Racing organization for the 2018 season.  Jones used a three-stop pit strategy to his best advantage, gaining track position and pulling away from the two-stopping Zach Veach to finish third.  The result matched his career best to-date:  a third place run as a rookie at last year's Indianapolis 500.

In just his third race as an Indy car rookie, Veach had his best result to date – an impressive run that saw him hold off veteran Graham Rahal in the closing laps to finish fourth.

Rahal was another driver to make a three-stop strategy pay off, as he recovered from an early race penalty – for avoidable contact on the opening lap with Simon Pagenaud, to finish fifth.  Marco Andretti made it five Honda drivers in the top six at the finish and had his best run in the still-young season.

Video recaps from this weekend's Honda IndyCar Series action in Long Beach, as well as Acura Motorsports activity in yesterday's IMSA sports car race, are available on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found at:

Today's Grand Prix of Long Beach was the second of three consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series races in April.  The string of back-to-back events concludes next week with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 22.

"Even though it's not my true home race, it really feels like one:  the crowds here and just the whole atmosphere is so welcoming and inviting that it's no surprise that this race has been on the calendar for so long," said Alexander Rossi, after starting first and finishing first for his first IndyCar Series victory of 2018 and his third career win.

"It's a pleasure to be able to come here and race, first of all, and to be able to win here is pretty special. This one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons, and I'm very glad that there were so many people here that were able to witness it."

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