Rossi earns top-10 finish in season opener | TheUnion.com
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Rossi earns top-10 finish in season opener

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Pato O'Ward (5) takes the second turn ahead of Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi (27) during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama auto race at Barber Motorsports Parkway, Sunday, in Birmingham, Ala.
Associated Press

Alexander Rossi readily admits the 2020 IndyCar season didn’t play out the way he’d hoped.

“I just think we sucked globally,” Rossi said in March at the IndyCar Series’ Content Days in Indianapolis. “There wasn’t anything we were doing right, whether it was qualifying performance, whether it was race performance, pit stops, my driving. None of it was good.”

After a difficult 2020 IndyCar season, Rossi opened this year’s campaign with a ninth place finish at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama held at Barber Motorsports Parkway.



Rossi, a Nevada City native, had qualified in second and was running at the front of the pack through the first 18 laps, but his team’s pit strategy didn’t pay off and he was shuffled back in the pack and eventually finished in ninth. Alex Palou won the race, his first ever on the IndyCar circuit. Will Power was second, and Scott Dixon was third at the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course.

“Car racing is dumb sometimes. Wasn’t meant to be today,” Rossi said on Twitter after the race. “Great effort all around and especially the guys in pit lane. Lots to look forward to this year. Congrats to @AlexPalou on your first win.”



Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Pato O'Ward (5) leads Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi (27) and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Palou (10) through turn two during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama auto race at Barber Motorsports Parkway, Sunday, in Birmingham, Ala.
Associated Press

Rossi, who drives the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda for Andretti Autosports, is coming off a 2020 season in which he didn’t win a race and earned just five top-five finishes. It was the first season in which he didn’t win at least one race since joining IndyCar in 2016. Rossi has seven wins and 33 top-five finishes across 82 starts.

Next up for Rossi is the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The race is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday and will be broadcast on NBC.

DIBENDETTO TAKES 9TH AT RICHMOND RACEWAY

NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto earned his first top-10 finish of the season on Sunday.

The Nevada County native qualified 16th, but drove the No. 21 Ford Mustang to a ninth place finish at the Honda Owners 400 held at Richmond Raceway in Virginia.

“P9 today, felt good to snag stage points and get a top 10 that is much deserved for our team,” DiBenedetto said on Twitter.

The seven-year NASCAR veteran who drives for Wood Brothers Racing has 23 top-10 finishes in his career, 11 of which came during the 2020 season.

Alex Bowman won the Honda Owners 400, with Denny Hamlin finishing second and Joey Logano taking third.

Sunday’s top-10 finish for DiBenedetto jumped him up four spots in the overall points standings. He now sits in 18th with 175. Hamlin (434) sits atop the overall points leaderboard.

Next up for NASCAR Cup Series drivers is the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The race will be broadcast by FOX at 11 a.m. Sunday.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com.

 


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