Rossi is the "standout" in IndyCar now, says Power

Rossi is the

Alexander Rossi (#27 Andretti Autosports NAPA Auto Parts Honda) capped a near flawless weekend by dominating Sunday's 44th running of the Verizon IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

With a chance to race an exceptionally fast Honda on the Long Beach streets in front of about 60 friends and relatives, Rossi showed everybody what they might have missed. He also amid the usual excitement on this beloved downtown street course just off the Pacific Ocean.

But with 13 races still to come, including double-points outings at Indy and Sonoma, Rossi was quick to shoot down any talk of title favoritism.

"We nailed the setup in each session this weekend", said Rossi.

Rossi waited on pit lane until the final minute in qualifying.

Rossi doesn't have many victories yet, but they're all monsters: The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races also won at Watkins Glen late past year.

Rossi completed the race in a time of 1:53.15 with an average speed of 88.622 miles per hour, beating runner up Will Power (#12 Team Verizon Penske) to the checkered flag by a 1.2 second margin.

Graham Rahal managed to bring home his RLL racing vehicle home in fifth place despite having to serve a drive-through penalty for contact with Simon Pagenaud on the opening lap of the race, the collision sent the Frenchman hurtling into the wall causing irreparable damage to the Penske auto.

Ed Jones (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) was one of the beneficiaries, using the track position gained during the caution to finish third, tying his career best. "I don't think anything is going to solve my pain, so it is what it is".

The former series champion and 32-time race victor took the lead in the 25th lap, but was overtaken by eventual victor Alexander Rossi who pulled away with nine laps to go for his third IndyCar victory.

"That's pretty spectacular. I certainly hope I haven't peaked too early with those three", Rossi chuckled. "He was just really, really good".

The pole for an Andretti team, or any team other than Penske at Long Beach, was a bit of an upset.

While Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Will Power were duking it out for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, Rossi had already put 2017 in the rear-view mirror. "It's something that will definitely take a lot of time to appreciate, but we don't have that much time to appreciate it because this series just likes to keep us going, so we're on track here in another four or five days, and you're only as good as your last time on track".

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. Bourdais drove through and lost position, while Dixon later had to serve a drive-through penalty for taking a full pit stop.

He's conquered a superspeedway (the 2016 Indianapolis 500), a road course (Watkins Glen) and now the historic streets of Long Beach.

Bourdais was ordered to give back the position to Dixon because he apparently used the pit lane to make his move, but Bourdais then caught and passed Dixon for second place again anyway.

Newgarden also set a race lap record midway through, turning a lap on the streets in 1:07.551. King made a rookie mistake by trying to squeeze past Bourdais on the inside of the hairpin turn and spun him, collecting Hunter-Reay and Wickens in the process.

Rookie Zach Veach (#26 Andretti Autosports Honda) took fourth place while Rahal, overcoming a drive through penalty for hitting Pagenaud, recovered to salvage fifth place. Hunter-Reay fought his way back up to fifth, but got a puncture on contact with Jordan King.

The Indy cars will be back in action next Sunday, April 22, when the series shifts to Barber Motor Sports Park for the Honda GP of Alabama.

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