Rossi is the "standout" in IndyCar now, says Power

Chris Pook

Chris Pook was the first promoter of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

"It's a true privilege to be able to drive for them, and I'm glad we were able to put on an awesome show for him today".

Rossi pulled away after a late restart to win the Grand Prix of Long Beach, completing a dominant weekend by holding off Will Power for his third career victory. Rossi claimed the first win of his standout season from the pole.

The former series champion and 32-time race victor took the lead in the 25th lap, but was overtaken by eventual victor Alexander Rossi who pulled away with nine laps to go for his third IndyCar victory.

"That's huge for us", said Rossi.

Power's comment came in the post-race press conference at Long Beach.

Rossi was able to keep Power at bay when the race resumed four laps later despite being at a disadvantage in push-to-pass, which allows the driver to activate a boost of turbocharger pressure and additional horsepower. "This is one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons".

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After clinching the Verizon P1 award on Saturday for putting the auto on pole position by almost 0.5secs, Rossi was able to run an inspired two-stop strategy in the race which not one of his rivals was able to replicate. Rossi is the fifth driver to win at Long Beach from the pole, but the first since 2007. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 victor and veteran of five Formula One races hadn't won since Watkins Glen last year, but he had put his speedy Honda in position to win this year both in St. Petersburg - where he instead made late contact with rookie Robert Wickens - and again last weekend in Phoenix, where he finished third.

"I certainly hope I haven't peaked too early with those three, " Rossi said of his impressive array of conquered tracks.

Ed Jones (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) was one of the beneficiaries, using the track position gained during the caution to finish third, tying his career best.

Pagenaud, who started in the second row, was punted into the wall by Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) when Rahal attempted to move up on the outside after taking the green flag going into turn 1.

Rossi was a contestant on the most recent season of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race alongside fellow driver Conor Daly, who attended the race in Long Beach despite not now having an IndyCar ride.

Alexander Rossi was quick to play down suggestions from Will Power that he is the person to beat in the fight for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.

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Rossi's win means he now leads the championship by 22 points going into the next race at Barber Motorsport Park just one week away on April 22. And the common body kit was a really, really good idea. "That was pretty much all we had".

Rossi topped every session but one at Long Beach, and now holds a 22-point lead in the title race over Penske's reigning champion and Phoenix victor Josef Newgarden.

He led for the first 20 laps but fell back, first due to a pit stop and then after a collision with Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the 43rd lap. Because the pits were closed, Bourdais could not take service in his pit but Dixon took service despite being behind Bourdais.

The Long Beach street course is popular both for its friendly California atmosphere and the opportunities for remarkable racing created by its dimensions.

Bourdais was ordered to give back the position to Dixon because he apparently used the pit lane to make his move, but Bourdais caught and passed Dixon anyway. But Jordan King then spun Bourdais while curiously trying to pass on the hairpin turn, and the former champion finished 14th.

The race's next caution came out when Kyle Kaiser's No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet stalled in the Turn 1 runoff area on Lap 42.

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The race got off to a rough start for 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Verizon Chevy).

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