By Phillip Schmitz, Staff Writer
The first two races of the NTT IndyCar Series started out strong for Romain Grosjean, but the driver of the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda wouldn’t see the end of either of them after crashing out of both races.
Grosjean finally put a complete race together in Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to score a runner-up finish.
The Frenchman just needed to repeat what he did last year’s race in Southern California to do so. Just a strong, but smart race to get his season back on track. Grosjean would cross the finish line behind teammate Kyle Kirkwood, who drives the No. 27 AutoNation Andretti Autosport Honda, moving himself from 15th to seventh place in the IndyCar points standings.
“We tried everything on our end, but it was not easy,” Grosjean said to NBC Sports after the race. “It was a fuel situation, so couldn’t really attack. I think the car could’ve been a touch better here and there. Good to finish P2, and we’re on a high now.”
Although he could see his first career IndyCar win right in front of him. Grosjean was complimentary to Kirkwood, who scored his first career win in IndyCar.
“Happy for him obviously, wish I was in his position right now. He drove a hell of a race, like a champ the whole weekend.”
Grosjean also saw the bigger picture for him, and his Andretti Autosport team. After the disappointing result at St. Petersburg to start the season, Andretti Autosport had three cars finish in the top four at the end of the Acura GP of Long Beach. The No. 26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport Honda of Colton Herta finished in fourth place.
“I didn’t try to attack, didn’t try to go for the win. Just stay out of trouble, and did what we had to do,” said Grosjean.
Team boss Michael Andretti echoed those sentiments after the race. “I mean, that’s what we needed, that’s the medicine we needed. It was very frustrating, but we knew we had quick cars.”
Andretti Autosport will look to continue this high at the end of the month where the NTT IndyCar Series will race the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on April 30th on NBC.