Alexander Rossi drove his No. 98 ShopAndretti.com Honda to his seventh top-ten finish of the season Sunday with a sixth-place finish at Mid-Ohio.
Rossi kicked the Honda Indy 200 weekend off strong, finishing Friday’s practice sessions fifth-fastest overall. In Saturday’s Practice 3 and Sunday’s morning warm up, Rossi topped the charts over his 20 competitors. The Indy 500 winner made it to the second round of qualifying, but admitted to a mistake when they made a last-minute change to the set-up and did not advance to the Firestone Fast Six, settling with a ninth starting position.
“I’m pretty disappointed to miss the (Firestone) Fast Six after running so well in the morning of practice,” said Rossi. “We just went the wrong direction with a change in session and it hurt us in the end. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we have a fast race car.”
Rossi and the No. 98 team went into the race with a strong strategy, confident they could move up the charts. Starting on Firestone Blacks (primary tires) can be a gamble, since the Reds (Firestone alternate tires) are typically the faster tire in short stints. If Rossi could hold his position at ninth and even move up a couple of spots, an early pit stop would put him on Firestone Reds and move him into contention of winning mid-race.
“We chose a pretty aggressive strategy starting on blacks [Firestone primary tires] and I think it was working pretty well for us,” said Rossi. “Unfortunately, the stint on used [Firestone alternate] reds was a lot more challenging than we originally thought it would be. We lost about 12 seconds on the reds, and that was the difference for us between challenging for a podium and finishing sixth.”
On Lap 18, Rossi and teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact, which caused Hunter-Reay to spin. He recovered and went on to finish eighth.
“I was on reds and [Ryan] was on blacks,” said Rossi. “It was a 50/50 deal and it’s unfortunate that would ever happen to a teammate. We talked about it, we’ll move on and get back to working together in Pocono.”
The team will take a two-week break before heading to the Tricky Triangle for the second 500-mile race of 2017. Round 14 will go green on Sunday, August 20, with broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Start / Finish: 9 / 6
Points Earned: 28
Points Standing / Total: 8 / 358
Next Race: ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway – Sunday August 20
How to Watch or Listen: NBCSN at 2 p.m. or listen on INDYCAR Radio on SiriusXM
Andretti Autosport, led by racing legend Michael Andretti, boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success.
Under the banners of Andretti Autosport and Avalanche Andretti Formula E, the Indianapolis-based team fields multiple entries across the INDYCAR SERIES, Indy Lights, the FIA Formula E World Championship and the IMSA Prototype Challenge LMP3 division. The team also competes as Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Australian Supercars category through partnership with Walkinshaw Racing and United Autosports additionally the team fields an entry in the Extreme E championship via Andretti United Extreme E.
The global racing enterprise boasts four INDYCAR SERIES championships, five Indy Light titles, one Pro Mazda championship, a Silver Class GT4 Championship and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500. The team also holds two X Games Gold Medals and five U.S. rallycross championships.