BELLE ISLE, Mich – The NTT IndyCar Series race at Belle Isle was looking like Alexander Rossi was going to win on Saturday. See, Rossi started on the pole and led the first 18 laps of Saturday’s rain delayed Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. He was quickest on Friday by over a half of a second. He was quickest in qualifying on Saturday morning by 2-tenths.
He was untouchable.
Instead, he finished runner-up to race winner Josef Newgarden in a race that Rossi said Newgarden lucked into. Rossi, said that they did everything perfectly for the race. Flawless pit stop. Started on the pole. Led all the laps in a proper race. He just got beat by bad luck on his part.
That has him “annoyed.”
“It’s annoying,” said Rossi. “I mean, it’s now three times, COTA, Indy and here. It’s part of it. It ebbs and flows. Yeah, I mean, it’s out of our control.
“I think as a team; we did everything right. We executed. We got on pole. We controlled the race in the wet. Had a great pit stop, huge execution moment for the boys in the pits. They did a good job there to ensure we stayed in front of Scott and Will (Power).
“Yeah, a flawless day for the team. Ultimately didn’t go our way to be on the top step.”
See, when Ed Jones got into the tire barriers early on in the race, Newgarden had just brought his No. 2 Chevrolet down pit lane. Rossi, was still out on track, as was 80-percent of the other cars as well.
So, when everyone hit pit lane, minus those that had already pit, Rossi had to stand on the gas before they could pack up. He would exit pit lane second. He should have been in the lead if not for Newgarden’s lucky pit call.
Rossi, gave credit to Newgarden for having a flawless drive and a good enough car to hold him off, but with this being a one grooved race track after rain poured on the Detroit area just a little under two hours before the start of the 75 minute timed race, Rossi couldn’t pass Newgarden unless Newgarden made a mistake.
“Josef (Newgarden) did a good job, didn’t make any mistakes there on the last stint,” said Rossi on the final battle. “I think we were definitely kind of on another planet.
“I tried to push him into a mistake. We were flat out. But he’s a great driver and isn’t going to make mistakes. Ultimately with a one-groove racetrack like that, couldn’t go offline because it’s wet.”
So, Rossi could only follow Newgarden around the 2.35-mile street course for 25 laps and hope for a rare mistake. It never happened which forced Rossi to bring his No. 27 Honda home runner-up for the second straight week.
The Andretti Autosport driver was frustrated when he finished second in last weekend’s Indianapolis 500.
Rossi was pissed at the way some of his fellow competitors raced him. See, Rossi was battling for the win and didn’t feel like he should have to maneuver around lapped either.
Then, his fuel hose had a malfunction on a late race pit stop. The 20+ second stop could have been damaging to his race winning hopes. Instead, he got a lucky caution which only dropped him from the top two to sixth. He drove like a maniac following that and battled Simon Pagenaud for the win in the end.
A late caution made him mad too as he thought Pagenaud was in fuel conservation mode while he was all out full rich on fuel.
Mad at the field.
Mad at a mechanical failure on a hose in the pits.
Mad at a late race caution.
Mad he didn’t win the race.
So much so, Rossi said prior to qualifying that he would get jealous when someone else wins the Indy 500. Since he won the 100th Running in 2016, Rossi doesn’t like to see anyone else sip the milk following an Indy 500 win. He stays off social media for a while after that due to his jealously of someone else celebrating a win that he feels like he deserves.
Rossi, said on Friday after besting the field by 0.5274-seconds in practice that he couldn’t watch highlights or rewatch the race much in general from last Sunday. He knows how it ended. He doesn’t like it.
He took it out of the field this weekend but was penalized by an ill timed caution. Watch out for him on Sunday. If you thought he drove with a vendetta up until today, what happens when the conditions are dry for Sunday and he says his car is better in that?