Alexander Rossi made up ground on Josef Newgarden in the last NTT IndyCar Series race of the season. See, Rossi finally overcame the bridesmaid status and was left celebrating on the top step of the podium on June 23 in Road America. The Andretti Autosport driver led all but one lap and beat the field by 30+ seconds. He was so good, it left the Team Penske drivers scratching their heads on how they were so far off.
Will Power said it best, he never saw Rossi all day.
Well, now they’ll try to keep them in their sights this weekend in Toronto. In fact, Toronto starts are stretch where Rossi hopes to keep Newgarden in his sights.
Alexander Rossi wins the June 23 REV Group Grand Prix at Road America
With his win in Road America, Rossi gained 18 points on Newgarden. He went from 25 points down for the championship lead to seven. But, just look at how good Newgarden has been in the next three races.
At Toronto, Newgarden has won two of the last four years. He has three top two finishes in four street course starts in 2019 too.
At Iowa, Newgarden hasn’t finished worse than sixth 2014 including four straight years of top two finishes. He led 229 laps last year and should have won. He led 282 of 300 laps in his dominating win in 2016. He led 111 laps in his runner-up in 2015. Overall, he’s led 623 laps in the last four years on the 7/8 mile bullring.
Then there’s Mid-Ohio to close the month out. Newgarden, won the race there in 2017 and was fourth last year. On natural road courses in 2019, the Penske driver has three top four finishes in five tries.
See where this could be troublesome for Rossi?
In Toronto, Rossi finished runner-up in 2017 but was 16th in 2016 and eighth last year. He does have four top five finishes on street courses in 2019 including a win in Long Beach and runner-up in Belle Isle 1 to Newgarden.
At Iowa, Rossi has never finished in the top five including zero lead lap finishes there. He also has led a combined four laps on the Midwest oval.
His win in Mid-Ohio last year is his lone top five in three starts.
So, the opportunity for Rossi to win again is there, but he has no margin or error. That’s why he expects he and his team to bring their “A-Games” over the next three races.
“Toronto is one of the most exciting races of the season for us due to the energy of the crowd and the city,” said Rossi. “This weekend kicks off a three-week stretch of critical races, so the whole team and I will be needing to bring our ‘A’ game. I feel rested and ready and cannot wait to get started.”
Rossi, has five straight top five finishes on the season including four of which being in the top two. In fact, he has five top two finishes in his last seven starts on the year. Can he keep that going?