By Josh Farmer, Contributing Writer
LONG BEACH, California – Will Power could only watch from second as Alexander Rossi dominated Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
A two-time winner at the Streets of Long Beach, Power started second in today’s race and found himself trailing Rossi for much of the 85-lap event’s opening stint.
Scott Dixon and St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais overtook Power on the first exchange of pitstops. The 37-year-old Australian got some good fortune on the next pit exchange by pitting on Lap 59 just before the yellow flew on Lap 60. The pair of four-time IndyCar champions got caught on pit road when the caution came out.
Dixon pitted and was assessed a penalty for stopping under the yellow while Bourdais stopped under the yellow flag, which promoted Power back up to second place.
A late yellow flag on lap 72 for a multi-car crash in the Turn 11 hairpin set up a 10 lap dash to the finish. With no lapped cars between him and the leader, the opportunity was in front of him to challenge for the win.
Power used his push-to-pass to keep Rossi in his sights while Rossi used his P2P to defend Power’s efforts. Power ultimately came up 1.21s short at the checkered flag.
While Power claimed his 63rd career podium and his sixth at Long Beach, he lamented that he was on the ragged edge at the end.
“I needed to get close enough to him to make him use his, but I just stayed at that one-second gap, just kind of couldn’t make time on him enough to use it up,” he said. “It’s like qualifying every lap for both of us there at the end. At the end of the day, Rossi was just too fast all day. Just really good. Yeah, that’s pretty much all we had.”
Rossi has scored podiums in each of the series’ first three races, which has propelled him to the top of the standings. Meanwhile, Power sits eighth, 54 behind the leader. The 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion feels that Rossi’s performance is championship worthy.
“When you look at what Rossi did this weekend, man, really, really, really strong,” he said. “I think he’s going to be tough to beat in the championship. He’s definitely what I’d call a stand-out of the field right now in every respect. I mean, even when we saw him at Phoenix on the oval, as well.
“Yeah, you’ll have to beat him.”