Apr 15, 2018 - LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Alexander Rossi scored a dominant victory Sunday for Honda at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, leading 71 of 85 laps and successfully fending off former series champion Will Power after a late-race caution bunched the field.
Starting from the pole, Rossi took his Andretti Autosport Honda into the lead at the green flag and remained in command throughout the 85-lap event, surrendering the lead only as the field cycled through various pit stop strategies. Although a late yellow flag bunched the field and eliminated his seven-second advantage, Rossi held off second-running Will Power over the final 10 laps, and built a 1.24-second lead at the checkers.
The victory, Rossi's first of 2018 and third career Indy car triumph, moves him into the championship lead, with 126 points to 104 points for Josef Newgarden. Honda also increases the company's lead in the IndyCar Manufacturers' Championship, with an unofficial total of 263 points to 193 for rival Chevrolet.
Verizon IndyCar Series sophomore Ed Jones had his best race since joining the Chip Ganassi Racing organization for the 2018 season. Jones used a three-stop pit strategy to his best advantage, gaining track position and pulling away from the two-stopping Zach Veach to finish third. The result matched his career best to-date: a third place run as a rookie at last year's Indianapolis 500.
In just his third race as an Indy car rookie, Veach had his best result to date – an impressive run that saw him hold off veteran Graham Rahal in the closing laps to finish fourth.
Rahal was another driver to make a three-stop strategy pay off, as he recovered from an early race penalty – for avoidable contact on the opening lap with Simon Pagenaud, to finish fifth. Marco Andretti made it five Honda drivers in the top six at the finish and had his best run in the still-young season.
Today's Grand Prix of Long Beach was the second of three consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series races in April. The string of back-to-back events concludes next week with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on April 22.
Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) started 1st, finished 1st, first IndyCar Series victory of 2018, third career win: "Even though it's not my true home race [Rossi hails from northern California], it really feels like one: the crowds here and just the whole atmosphere is so welcoming and inviting that it's no surprise that this race has been on the calendar for so long. It's a pleasure to be able to come here and race, first of all, and to be able to win here is pretty special. This one I'll definitely remember for a very long time for a lot of different reasons, and I'm very glad that there were so many people here that were able to witness it."