The popularity of the NTT IndyCar Series’ return to Portland International Raceway continued as a large crowd made its way into the permanent road course on a sunny Sunday morning. Even though he qualified a surprising seventh on Saturday.
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi knew he had a chance to make up some ground on Championship leader Josef Newgarden, who had qualified 13th. Gaining positions on a couple of restarts and a couple more with attrition, Rossi came home with a strong P3 finish and a spot on the podium. While luck was on his side in avoiding on-track incidents during the 105-lap event, he needed some bad luck for Newgarden, who finished fifth.
“It is not that I wanted more, I just wanted less for (Josef Newgarden),” said Rossi. “The No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda boys did a good job. We maximized what we had. I don’t think we had a race-winning car today, unfortunately. Starting in seventh and finishing on the podium is a good day. We finished in front of our championship rival.”
The podium finish saw a small climb in points for Rossi and he’s now 41 points out of the lead. Newgarden’s Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud is 42 points down. The upcoming finale race at Laguna Seca is double points, and history has shown Championships can be won even by those third in the standings.
“It’s going to be interesting at Laguna ” said Rossi. “Obviously double points creates a lot of opportunity. We saw what happened in 2015 with (Juan Pablo Montoya) and Scott (Dixon), so we’ll just go try and win, and hopefully the rest takes care of itself. It will be pretty intense in California, but I am looking forward to it.”
Team Penske’s Will Power won the Grand Prix of Portland and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist finished second (full results). INDYCAR concludes its 17-race season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 22. Television coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT local) with the green flag scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. local). Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!