Story By: MARK ROBINSON / INDYCAR – LONG POND, PA – Alexander Rossi dominated for the second straight Verizon IndyCar Series race, winning Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway to tighten the championship battle with three races remaining.
The Andretti Autosport driver led 180 of 200 laps on the 2.5-mile triangular oval, taking the checkered flag 4.4982 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power. It gave Rossi back-to-back wins following his July 29 triumph in the Honda Indy 500 at Mid-Ohio. The victory allowed Rossi to unofficially close within 29 points of championship leader Scott Dixon, who finished third.
The early portion of the race was marred by a five-car incident on Lap 7 that forced a red-flag stoppage of nearly two hours for track repairs. The crash was initiated when the cars of Robert Wickens and Ryan Hunter-Reay touched in Turn 2. As the cars slid toward the SAFER Barrier on the outside wall, Wickens’ No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda launched over the front of Hunter-Reay’s No/ 28 DHL Honda and into the catch fencing.
Wickens’ car spun violently in the fencing before returning to a stop on track. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver was awake and alert when attended to by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team and the INDYCAR Medical staff. Wickens was transported by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for further evaluation. INDYCAR will update Wickens’ condition when it becomes available.
Hunter-Reay was uninjured. Drivers behind them also collected in the incident were James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato and Pietro Fittipaldi, who were likewise uninjured but eliminated from the race.
The race was halted after 8 laps for 1 hour, 56 minutes to allow for repair of the catch fencing.
Rossi, in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, started second to pole sitter Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. An incident as the 22-car field came to the green flag to start the race brought out an immediate yellow when Graham Rahal ran into the back of Spencer Pigot, sending Pigot’s No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka spinning into the inside wall between pit lane and the track.
The race restarted on Lap 6 and Rossi immediately got the jump on Power to take the lead on the front straight, shortly before the major five-car incident on Lap 7.
Unofficially after 14 races, Dixon has accumulated 530 points to 501 for Rossi. Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, the reigning series champion who finished fifth, has 464 points. Power is fourth at 449 and Hunter-Reay fifth with 411. The top 10 drivers remain mathematically alive for the championship heading to the next race, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, Aug. 25. The race airs live at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.