Racing roundup: Rossi finishes 7th at GMR Grand Prix
Sweet claims 9th win of season; DiBenedetto struggles at Dover
With the biggest race of the season just two weeks away, Alexander Rossi posted his best showing of the year.
The Nevada City native drove to a seventh place finish Saturday at the GMR Grand Prix held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, marking his third top-10 finish through five races this year.
Rossi qualified 14th and was able to weave his No. 27 AutoNation Honda all the way to seventh, earning some much needed points and momentum heading into the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.
It was five years ago when Rossi, who drives for Andretti Autosport, surprised the racing world and won the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie.
“I have no idea how we pulled that off,” he said after the race, just his second on an oval track at the time.
“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has been an event Rossi has usually fared well in. After his triumphant run in 2016, he finished seventh in 2017, fourth in 2018 and second in 2019. In the 2020 edition, Rossi was running at the front of the pack until a penalty in pit lane sent him to the back. He would later crash and finish 27th.
Rinus VeeKay won Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix, becoming the fifth different driver to win through five IndyCar races this season. Romain Grosjean was second and Alex Palou was third.
Rossi did collect 26 season points from the race. He currently sits in 14th in the overall points standings with 91. Six-time IndyCar season champ Scott Dixon holds the top spot with 176 points.
The 2021 Indianapolis 500 race will be broadcast by NBC, starting at 8 a.m. May 30.
SWEET EARNS 9TH WIN OF SEASON
Two-time and defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car Champion Brad Sweet outlasted the competition at the Gettysburg Clash Wednesday, claiming his ninth win of the season and first at the Pennsylvania track.
Racing at Lincoln Speedway, Sweet started from P2 and trailed Brent Marks for much of the race, but Sweet took advantage of some lapped traffic chaos to grab the lead with seven laps left. “The Big Cat” held off any late challengers to earn the win.
“I think Brent (Marks) had the car to beat,” Sweet said after the race. “We had the car to run second, but was better than us at moving around and going through traffic. It’s still one of the best cars I’ve ever had here, but we need to recognize there’s room to grow. A win is a win, though, especially in Central Pennsylvania.”
Sweet, who drives the No. 49 NAPA AUTO PARTS sprint car for Kasey Kahne Racing, followed up his showing at the Gettysburg Clash with a 14th place finish and a 12th place finish, respectively, at back-to-back races at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday and Saturday.
Sweet remains atop the World of Outlaws Sprint Car points standings with 3,240. David Gravel is in second with 3,180. Sweet’s nine wins are six more than any other driver on the circuit.
Next up for Sweet is a race today at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in New Jersey.
DIBENEDETTO STRUGGLES AT DOVER
NASCAR driver Matt DiBenedetto finished 24th at the Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, marking his worst finish in more than two months.
“No excuses. It is what it is,” said DiBenedetto, who drives the No. 21 Mustang for Wood Brothers Racing. “It was a long, painful day and we just kind of had to ride it out. … It happens. Just have to move on to the next one.”
Alex Bowman won the race, his second of the season. Kyle Larsen was second, and Chase Elliott was third.
For DiBenedetto, it was the first time he finished outside the top 20 since Feb. 28. He had tallied top-10 finishes in three of the four races leading up to Sunday’s race.
DiBenedetto, a Grass Valley native, is currently in 17th in the overall NASCAR Cup Series points standings.
Next up for DiBenedetto is the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. The race will be broadcast on FS1 at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com.
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