INDYCAR: Rossi reaches podium at Pocono Raceway |

INDYCAR: Rossi reaches podium at Pocono Raceway

Second place finisher Josef Newgarden, from left, winner Will Power and third place finisher Alexander Rossi pose after the IndyCar auto race at Pocono Raceway, Sunday in Long Pond, Pa.

IndyCar driver and Nevada City native Alexander Rossi led 44 laps and took home third place at Pocono Raceway Sunday. Starting from position six in the ABC Supply 500, Rossi advanced quickly and was battling for the lead from the get go. The thrilling race featured 42 lead changes among 10 drivers — a Pocono race record.

“A lot went right for us today,” said Rossi. “I think the Military-to-Motorsports car was strong and got right to the front from the beginning. It was our race to control from a fuel standpoint, and our NAPA Know How crew did a good job in the pits all day.

“The difficult thing was, our fuel trim knob came off two-thirds of the way through. So we were stuck in the mix and it certainly wasn’t optimum. It made restarts challenging, and also definitely at the end when the two guys in front of me were pushing quite hard and I didn’t have full power.”

Team Penske finished one-two, with Will Power claiming the victory and Josef Newgarden runner-up. Power, last year’s winner at Pocono Raceway, battled back from front and rear wing issues during the race. Newgarden and Rossi chased down Power, making for a thrilling last 10 laps, but couldn’t get past him in the end.

“I was trying,” said Rossi. “But Josef didn’t have the speed for Will, and I didn’t really have the speed for Josef. I thought we were pretty strong in turn three at times, but I didn’t have enough to really pull alongside, and I think that was truly down to the (fuel) mixture problem.”

Strategist for the No. 98 car and Chief Operating Officer for Andretti Autosport Rob Edwards added, “Being a little disappointed with our second podium in three races shows where the expectations are for the 98 team. Great drive from Alex and great work from the crew. Gateway, here we come.”

Rossi agreed the podium finish was bittersweet.

“It’s a really good result, but when you come so close to a win, it’s sometimes difficult to swallow,” said Rossi. “Looking back to where we were at Pocono last year, when we had a strong car and didn’t finish, to come back to be on the podium is a testament to Andretti Autosport and the entire team and the work that they’ve done all year.”

Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay sustained left hip and knee injuries in a qualifying crash Saturday, but charged from the 21st starting position to lead 12 laps before finishing eighth.

The Verizon IndyCar Series is in the middle of back-to-back race weekends, and travels to Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois for a night race on Saturday. Rossi is still eighth in the Championship.

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