Alexander Rossi won at Indy Road to end 49 races without a win in IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS – Alexander Rossi snapped a 49-game losing streak dating back to the 2019 IndyCar season with a win at one of his favorite tracks – ensuring he ends his Andretti Autosport career on a high note.

Rossi won on Saturday at the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his 2016 victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 launched his American motorsports career. Rossi’s last win was at Road America in the 10th race of the 2019 season.

“It’s a relief,” sighed Rossi on the podium. “The support has been there for me for so long. A shout out to Andretti Autosport in their continued faith. We still have a ways to go, but this was a really great track to do it at – at home in Indianapolis. That was really amazing.”

A long slump left him looking for a fresh start and the California native will leave Andretti at the end of his seventh season to drive for Arrow McLaren SP next year. It was Michael Andretti who gave Rossi a chance in IndyCar when he dropped out of Formula 1 and returned to the United States to continue his career.

Rossi’s surprise victory as a rookie in the celebrated 100th running of the Indy 500 made him a star and earned him a loyal sponsorship following his long drought. Some of its problems over the past three seasons have been team-driven — mistakes, mechanical failures and the Andretti team’s complete meltdown earlier this month at Mid-Ohio — and Saturday was hardly an ideal day for the organization.

Colton Herta controlled the early part of the race but slowed from the lead just before the halfway mark.

“There’s nothing I can do,” he radioed as he struggled to drive his underpowered Honda back into the pit lane.

He later walked alone down the pit lane back into the paddock as the race continued without him.

“A man who is sad,” Herta tweeted. “We’ve shown what we can do, we’ll keep going until we win again.”

Rossi sympathized with his teammate.

“I feel for Colton, yes. But I’m grateful that something finally came our way,” Rossi said. “I think Colton was definitely strong and we had almost the same race car and that (battle) would be interesting. But it was 27’s turn. And that’s amazing.”

Meanwhile, Andretti rookie Devlin DeFrancesco drew the ire of Conor Daly when tempers flared when DeFrancesco forced Daly off the track.

“Devlina needs to be fired from this racing series! He’s an idiot!” Daly yelled into the radio.

Michael Andretti is speculated to be reconsidering bringing DeFrancesco back for a second season.

Christian Lundgaard, a rookie from Denmark who made his IndyCar debut in this race a year ago, finished second and Rahal Letterman Lanigan earned his first podium of the season. It also ensured a 1-2 finish for the Honda-powered riders.

Will Power finished third for Team Penske and the Chevrolet driver returned to the top of the IndyCar standings for the third time this season. He now holds a nine-point lead over Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who started last and finished 11th.

Scott McLaughlin finished fourth followed by Josef Newgarden as the Penske drivers worked together to cross the finish line in a row. Newgarden was not cleared to race until Saturday by IndyCar medical staff after collapsing and hitting his head at Iowa Speedway last Sunday.

The race started with six drivers tied for 44 points with five races remaining in the IndyCar season. The six drivers are now separated by 52 points and reigning series champion Alex Palou’s 10th place cost him ground.

Alexander Rossi won at Indy Road to end 49 races without a win in IndyCar originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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