Rossi in hunt for IndyCar’s season title in Sonoma finale (TIMELINE/VIDEO)
September 14, 2018
After six months, 16 races and thousands of miles traveled, it all comes down to one final race — the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma.
The chase is on for the IndyCar points championship and Nevada City native Alexander Rossi is in the hunt for the title along with three other drivers.
Rossi comes into the double-points race at Sonoma Raceway trailing leader Scott Dixon by just 29 points and knows he will need a strong showing to overcome his deficit.
"I don't expect him to make a mistake," Rossi told the Indianapolis Star. "The pressure is on me to deliver the results, to deliver under pressure."
Outside of a hard-luck eighth-place finish in Portland Sept. 2, Rossi has been impressive in the final quarter of the season, winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio and the ABC Supply 500, and placing second at the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.
For the year, Rossi has three wins, three poles and 10 top-five finishes. He's finished outside the top-10 just three times all season.
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"It's cool to be able to go to a racetrack and know we kind of have proven ourselves to not only win on a strategy race," Rossi said in an interview with IndyCar.com. "But, also to be there for the long haul and hopefully win a championship."
As Rossi chases his first IndyCar Championship, Dixon is in search of his fifth.
"He is by far the hardest to beat," Rossi said to Indycar.com. "When you can beat him, whether it's in a session or over a weekend or whatever, it's a very rewarding thing because you know you're beating the best. So, it's a pretty big privilege to be able to race against him, compete against him and be in the same conversation with him this year. It shows how much progress we've made as a team and hopefully it continues a long time."
Since joining the IndyCar Series three years ago, Rossi has shot to the front of the pack. The 26 year old was named the Rookie of the Year in 2016 after winning the Indianapolis 500. He scored his second IndyCar victory and first pole position in his sophomore season. And now, in his third season he finds himself in a battle for the overall championship.
Other drivers in the mix include Will Power and Josef Newgarden, who sit in a tie for third place with 511 points. Dixon has 598 points and Rossi has 569.
The race at Sonoma Raceway will also be the last for IndyCar on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. IndyCar added a race at Laguna Seca for the 2019 season.
In 2016, Rossi finished fifth at the Sonoma race. In 2017, Rossi struggled to a 21st place finish. Dixon was fourth at Sonoma last season and has victories at the track in 2014 and 2017
Practices and qualifying are set for today. The race is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on NBCSN.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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