Folsom Telegraph Automotive

Local boy Rossi wins IndyCar Grand Prix

Nevada City native heads to Sonoma for championship finale next
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
-A +A

Local driver Alexander Rossi earned his first win of the year at the IndyCar Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International Speedway in New York Sunday afternoon. Rossi won at the iconic road course from the pole position the win was Rossi’s second of his young career in the Verizon IndyCar Series. His first came last year when he made headlines, winning the famed Indianapolis 500 as a rookie.

"An amazing job by the whole team today," Rossi said. "We had an issue in the beginning with the fuel thing, but whatever. It doesn't matter, the team recovered. We had the pace to do it, but it's pretty amazing.”

The 25-year-old native of Nevada City led a race-high 32 laps and drove the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts-Curb Records sponsored Honda across the finish line 0.9514 of a second ahead of four-time Watkins Glen winner Scott Dixon.

Rossi overcame a malfunctioning fuel probe on his second pit stop that left him short of fuel and forced an earlier third stop than scheduled. From there, Rossi drove at a near-qualifying pace, regaining the lead on Lap 29 and building an advantage of more than 12 seconds.

"It's a huge team effort. I've talked about so much how much we've improved,” Rossi said. “I'm so happy we're finally able to win."

Dixon, in search of a fifth season championship that would leave the 37-year-old New Zealander behind only seven time winner A.J. Foyt on the all-time list, had his own eventual day but was rewarded in points with the second-place finish. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third. Helio Castroneves placed fourth and retained third in the championship point standings.

The IndyCar series will now roll into the track Rossi calls home at nearby Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 17. Rossi will enter the championship event sixth in the series standings. The series finale will offer 100 points to the winner, 80 for second place, 70 for third and down from there.