Rossi caps dominant Long Beach weekend with victory

Josef Newgarden

"This is one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons".

"To be able to have (Hachigo) come over to this race and to have a Honda vehicle on pole and two of the three cars on the podium be Honda cars, that's fantastic for all of us that are obviously supported by the manufacturer and HPD". Will be updated.Alexander Rossi pulled away from a late restart and won the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races hadn't won since Watkins Glen last year, but he had put his speedy vehicle in position to win this year both in St Petersburg - where he instead made late contact with rookie Robert Wickens - and again last weekend in Phoenix, where he finished third. I think he's going to be tough to beat in the championship.

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.

Rossi has hit the track at full speed this season after his TV break, reaching the podium twice already in St Petersburg and again last weekend in Phoenix.

Power was unable to overhaul the local Californian driver in the final stages of the race, trying to put the former F1 driver under pressure by trying to maximise what was left of his push to pass but could not keep up with the #27 NAPA tool cars.

It was a brilliant drive from the 37-year-old from Toowoomba, with his team languishing in 14th spot in the standings before the 85-lap race. At the end of the day, I mean, Rossi was just too fast all day. "He was just really, really good. That's pretty much all we had". Other notables included Marco Andretti in sixth, defending series champion Josef Newgarden in seventh and 2017 Long Beach race victor James Hinchcliffe in ninth.

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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.

The Long Beach street course is popular both for its friendly California atmosphere and the opportunities for remarkable racing created by its dimensions. Other notable, more experienced drivers continued to make errors throughout the race, Sebastian Bourdais made a daring move into Turn 1 passing Scott Dixon, Spencer Pigot and then proceeded to dive up the inside of Mathius Leist.

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

The final yellow came out on lap 72 when rookie Jordan King piled into the back of Sebastien Bourdais causing a four vehicle pileup that also included Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Wickens.

Newgarden also set a race lap record midway through, turning a lap on the streets in 1:07.551.

The race got off to a rough start for 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Verizon Chevy). Rahal got a drive-through penalty. Hunter-Reay fought his way back up to fifth, but got a puncture on contact with Jordan King.

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to action Sunday, April 22 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the scenic Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

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