LONG POND, PA – Alexander Rossi knew that the middle stretch of the NTT IndyCar Series season could produce some off finishes. See, Rossi knows that Toronto and Iowa aren’t strong suits for him. Heading into that stretch of the year, Rossi had four top two finishes in a five race span including a dominating effort at Road America on June 23. But, with Toronto and Iowa looming, he knew that he had to have some kind of damage control in order to stay within striking distance of points leader Josef Newgarden.
Now that those two races are behind him, he’s confident that he can make up the 16 point gap to Newgarden over the final four races of the season.
“Yeah, I think so,” Rossi said on if the final four races setup nicely for him. “I knew once we got through Toronto and Iowa, we were kind of back to our better places. It was important to get through those as well as we could.
“I think we’re confident, more confident at these upcoming tracks than we were at kind of some of the tracks at the middle of the season.”
Alexander Rossi wins last year’s ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway
But, success isn’t guaranteed in this sport. Rossi, led 66 of 90 laps in last year’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course but only finished fifth this past year. He led zero laps that day.
So, despite leading 180 of 200 laps in last year’s ABC Supply 500 at the Pocono Raceway, the Andretti Autosport driver doesn’t necessarily think that being good last year will make him good this year.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s hard,” Rossi continued. “You can have past success, as we saw at Mid-Ohio, we were good there in ’18, struggled a bit this year. Things change. People get better. There are different parameters that you have to execute on on each given day regardless of your past results there.”
Rossi, will start second on Sunday due to qualifying getting rained out on Saturday. He started second in his domination last year. He also finished second in both superspeedway races earlier this season too.
He hopes that his strength is maximized this weekend and he can close the gap to Newgarden even more.
“It’s one of my favorite tracks to go back to each year – and obviously, we had a good race there last year,” Rossi said of Pocono. “We’re getting into a critical point of the championship and we need to win races. Pocono is a great place for us to hopefully do that. Being so close to where the Andretti family is from is great. The area has a lot of tradition for Indy car racing and we all look forward to coming back to each year. Hopefully, we can leave the weekend leading the championship.”