Rossi Runs Second For Honda at Indianapolis 500
Alexander Rossi took the battle for the Indianapolis 500 down to the final laps, but when the checkers flew after 200 hard-fought laps, the 2016 “500” champion fell just two-tenths of a second short to winner Simon Pagenaud.
Rossi Runs Second For Honda at Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS, May 26, 2019
- Alexander Rossi finishes second after taking battle for victory to the final laps
- Takuma Sato recovers from one-lap deficit to finish third
- Santino Ferrucci, in a spectacular drive, leads rookie runners with run to seventh
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 26, 2019) – Alexander Rossi took the battle for the Indianapolis 500 down to the final laps today, but when the checkers flew after 200 hard-fought laps, the 2016 “500” champion fell just two-tenths of a second short to winner Simon Pagenaud.
Starting ninth in the field of 33, Rossi remained in the lead group throughout the two-hour, 50-minute contest in his Andretti Autosport Honda as he, Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais and several other Honda drivers were able to extend each fuel run two laps or more over the competition.
However, a late-race crash triggered when Bourdais and Graham Rahal made contact entering Turn 3 on Lap 178 eliminated the Honda entries of Bourdais, Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist and Zach Veach; and damaged the right-side bodywork and nose wings on Dixon’s car, effectively ending his challenge as well.
After a brief stoppage to clear the track, the race resumed with 13 laps remaining, setting up the duel between Rossi and Pagenaud. The pair traded the lead four times in the closing laps, but a pass into Turn 1 by Pagenaud on Lap 199 put him in the lead for the final time. In search of his second “500” victory, Rossi made a final bid for the win coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap, but Pagenaud held on for his first Indy triumph.
Behind the lead pair was the comeback story of the race. Takuma Sato lost a lap to the leaders after the opening round of pit stops, when he returned to pit lane for the team to inspect a possible loose wheel. The 2017 winner and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team then put on a textbook display of how to recover from the deficit, as Sato regained the lead lap with just over 60 laps remaining, and on Lap 170 had moved to fifth place. After the final restart, Sato passed both Josef Newgarden and Ed Carpenter in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in third.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci had an excellent debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, running with former Indy 500 winner and series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay throughout the day, successfully avoiding the stricken cars in the Lap 178 crash and finishing seventh as the top rookie in today’s “500”. Hunter-Reay followed Ferrucci home to finish eighth.
In his first Indy car appearance of 2019, Conor Daly ran as high as fourth in his Andretti Autosport Honda, but was shuffled back in traffic after the final restart to finish 10th.
NTT IndyCar Series teams and drivers now prepare for a hectic schedule of three races over the next two weeks, starting with next weekend’s June 1-2 doubleheader weekend, with races both Saturday and Sunday on the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit, Michigan.
Alexander Rossi (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) Started ninth, led 22 laps, finished second:
“Simon [Pagenaud] and the #22 [car] guys fully deserve the win. They were on the pole, and led probably 70 percent of the laps. He was a deserving winner for sure. But I think the NAPA car was superior if you look at what we were able to do in traffic. I don’t think anyone else was doing that. I thought there was a period of time where we were going to get the win. But that last yellow [caution flag] really hurt us. The Honda fuel mileage was so much superior to the competition – that’s a big plus from them. But what we had today just wasn’t enough. Our last pit stop was mega, got us back into the lead before that final yellow came out, which, as I said before, was probably the thing that ultimately cost us the race.”
Takuma Sato (#30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) Started 14th, finished third:
“My race looked really tough. We had an issue after the first pit stop [a suspected loose wheel nut], so we had to come back, and went a lap down, in 31st place. But our team did a great job to stretch the fuel and get us back to the [lead lap] pack. I think it took more than 100 laps [to get back to the front of the field]. But it was brilliant, and after the [Lap 186] restart, it was very exciting. We were just flying all over the place, and it was a great battle. It is a little bit of a pity that we couldn't challenge for the win, but we got third under some very difficult circumstances. It's a huge credit to the team. So, a big thank you to them for getting me back.”
Santino Ferrucci (#19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) Started 23rd, led one lap, finished seventh, career-best Indy car finish, highest finish for a rookie in this year’s race:
“To start the race next to a champion like [Ryan] Hunter-Reay – and we ran together literally the whole race – is so cool, so much fun. To come home seventh, I can’t even begin to say what an excellent job our entire team did today: from our pit stops, to our spotters, to our engineering, everything was so solid. No one ever put a foot wrong. It just so great, I don’t know what else to say.”
Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Started 18th, led 13 laps, fastest race lap on 226.006 mph on Lap 40, finished 17th:
“I thought during the first half [of the race] that our PNC Bank Honda was really good. We kept extending our pit windows [number of laps between pit stops]. I think we were probably going to eliminate a stop, which was going to put us in a great position [for the win]. And then that yellow flag [on Lap 138] just hosed us. It dropped us to the back of the field, where we just got caught up in that [Lap 178] accident. I had the car stopped in time, but then I just got hit up the rear. Someone hit us pretty hard and broke the right side [chassis] floor. It also took the gearbox control unit out, so I was stuck in sixth gear the rest of the race. So, it was pretty interesting just to be able to finish.”
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Indianapolis 500:
“I was surprised by my emotional response before the start of the race. The sense of pride and excitement is palpable. This race is an American treasure, and I wish every Honda associate could experience it in person at some point. I also was appreciative of the North American and global Honda executives we had in attendance today at the race to support our Indy 500 program. All of our teams gave it everything they had today. Despite their earlier problems, both Alexander [Rossi] and Takuma [Sato] were right in the battle for the victory at the end. Of course, it’s disappointing to lose; we’re not here to finish second. But the fans were treated to a thrilling finish, and this disappointment will make us work that much harder. Thank you to everyone at HPD and our partner teams for their outstanding efforts this month.”
IndyCar Series 2019
Round 06: Indy 500 Race
|1||Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske)|
|2||Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport)|
|3||Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|4||Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)|
|5||Will Power (Team Penske)|
|6||Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)|
|7||Santino Ferrucci (Dale Coyne Racing)|
|8||Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)|
|9||Tony Kanaan (A.J. Foyt Enterprises)|
|10||Conor Daly (Andretti Autosport)|
|11||James Hinchcliffe (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|12||James Davison (Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi)|
|17||Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|21||Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|22||Oriol Servia (MotoGator Stange Racing with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|23||Marcus Ericsson (Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)|
|24||Jordan King (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|26||Marco Andretti (Andretti Herta With Marco & Curb-Agajanian)|
|27||Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)|
|28||Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing)|
|29||Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport)|
|30||Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan)|
|33||Colton Herta (Harding Steinbrenner Racing)|