Alexander Rossi races to second straight Long Beach win

By JENNA FRYER

AP Auto Racing Writer

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) Alexander Rossi weaved his scooter through a horde of pedestrians and deftly maneuvered around the sun-drenched fans still partying in the streets of Long Beach.

Then Rossi suddenly stopped, kicked his leg away from the bike, and fiddled with a switch. His scooter nearly ran out of gas.

It was the only wrong move Rossi made Sunday.

The American conquered Long Beach for the second consecutive year and added his name to a short list of motorsports stars as multiple winners of the second-most prestigious race on the IndyCar schedule. Rossi became just the eighth driver to win more than once on the temporary street course through the picturesque downtown.

The others? Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi, Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Mike Conway.

"This is a special one," said Rossi, winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie in 2016.

His effort was nearly perfect and dedicated to his grandfather, Donald Russell, who died Saturday. Rossi only learned of his passing hours before the start of the race.

"He was someone I looked up to a lot and we had this thing called `The Straight Arrow Club' which he taught me as a young kid not to do anything stupid, just keep the arrow straight," Rossi said. "I guess I'm the head of that club now."

Rossi won the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole, same as last year, and had the field covered very early. His margin of victory over Josef Newgarden was more than 20 seconds and the 200th victory for Andretti Autosport across all series.

Rossi was the first driver to win consecutive races at Long Beach since Bourdais won three straight from 2005 to 2007.

Seven drivers won the last seven years, which didn't bode well for Rossi's chances at a repeat. But his Honda-powered Andretti entry was far and above the class of the field and he only relinquished the lead while on pit road.

Newgarden for Team Penske finished 20.2359 seconds behind with a Chevrolet. Graham Rahal was third across the finish line -25.4589 seconds behind Rossi- but lost the podium finish because IndyCar accused him of blocking Scott Dixon on the final lap.

Dixon, of Chip Ganassi Racing, was moved to third and Rahal finished fourth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

"I am not, like, upset about it," Rahal said. "Did I block? Yes. I blocked. You are allowed to make a move in this series. That's allowed. I played the rules as I see them fit."

But after watching a replay, Rahal was convinced he did nothing wrong and IndyCar is inconsistent in how it calls blocking.

His father, team owner Bobby Rahal, went to lobby the case to IndyCar with no luck.

"I am just not a fan of officials getting in the way of a result," Bobby Rahal said. "Like I said, `If that was a NASCAR race, and I touched the guy coming out of Turn 4 in the left rear on the last lap and passed him then, would you disqualify me?' No.'"

IndyCar's response to Rahal?

"Nothing - `We're not NASCAR,'" said the team owner. "I think it was a bad decision, but that is my personal decision."

Dixon said had Rahal not defended outside the rulebook, "we would have gotten (past) him, anyway."

Dixon ran second to Rossi for a large portion of the event but dropped out of contention because of a fueling issue during a lengthy pit stop.

HERTA OUT

Colton Herta has had back-to-back bad races since his victory in Texas made him the youngest winner in IndyCar. He had a fuel problem in Alabama last week and crashed out Sunday at Long Beach. Herta finished last in the 23-driver field.

It was a flip from the start of the day when Herta, who turned 19 just six days after last month's win, was fastest in the morning warm-up session for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. His crash canceled a promotion by local sponsor King Taco, which signed on for Long Beach after his victory because of Herta's tradition of celebrating victories with tacos. If Herta had won Long Beach, King Taco offered free tacos to anyone with a ticket stub.

"The car was so good and I just threw it all away," Herta said. "I feel terrible."

UP NEXT

IndyCar will begin preparations for the Indianapolis 500 with an April 24 test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The session will mark the debut of a deflector designed to offer new protection to the driver in the exposed cockpit. The deflector is scheduled to debut at the Indy 500, but could be ready earlier, when IndyCar races the road course at the speedway on May 11.

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More AP IndyCar: https://apnews.com/IndyCar and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated April 14, 2019

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Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
NFL
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
NHL
Tampa Bay 0 F
Carolina 2
Teams Score Time
Air Force   Fri 9:00pm
Boise State  
Utah   Fri 9:00pm
USC  
Boston College   Sat 12:00pm
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Tennessee   Sat 12:00pm
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Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
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UCF   Sat 3:30pm
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BYU  
Central Michigan   Sat 4:00pm
Miami  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Old Dominion   Sat 7:00pm
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Oregon   Sat 7:00pm
Stanford  
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Clemson  
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Texas  
Notre Dame   Sat 8:00pm
Georgia  
Colorado   Sat 10:00pm
Arizona State  
UCLA   Sat 10:30pm
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Teams Score Time
Interleague
Seattle 4 F
Pittsburgh 1
San Francisco 11 F
Boston 3
Tampa Bay 8 F
Los Angeles 7
Seattle   12:35pm
Pittsburgh  
San Francisco   1:05pm
Boston  
American League
Kansas City 0 F
Oakland 1
Los Angeles 3 F
New York 2
Toronto 11 F
Baltimore 10
Detroit 1 F
Cleveland 2
Chicago 3 F
Minnesota 1
Texas 2 F
Houston 3
Los Angeles   6:35pm
New York  
Toronto   7:05pm
Baltimore  
Detroit   7:15pm
Cleveland  
Kansas City   7:40pm
Minnesota  
National League
Washington 1 F
St. Louis 5
New York 7 F
Colorado 4
Miami 4 F
Arizona 5
Philadelphia 4 F
Atlanta 1
San Diego 2 F
Milwaukee 1
Cincinnati 3 F
Chicago 2
Philadelphia   12:10pm
Atlanta  
San Diego   4:10pm
Milwaukee  
St. Louis   7:15pm
Chicago  
Teams Score Time
Tennessee   8:20pm
Jacksonville  
Atlanta   Sun 1:00pm
Indianapolis  
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Kansas City  
Cincinnati   Sun 1:00pm
Buffalo  
Denver   Sun 1:00pm
Green Bay  
Detroit   Sun 1:00pm
Philadelphia  
Miami   Sun 1:00pm
Dallas  
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New England  
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Minnesota  
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Arizona  
New York   Sun 4:05pm
Tampa Bay  
Houston   Sun 4:25pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   Sun 4:25pm
Seattle  
Pittsburgh   Sun 4:25pm
San Francisco  
Los Angeles   Sun 8:20pm
Cleveland  
Teams Score Time
Florida 3 F
Montreal 4
New Jersey 4 F
New York 3
St. Louis 2 F
Washington 3
Tampa Bay 0 F
Carolina 2
Toronto 3 F
Ottawa 4
Minnesota 1 F
Winnipeg 4
Detroit 1 F
Chicago 2
San Jose 4 F
Calgary 6
Boston   7:00pm
Philadelphia  
Columbus   7:00pm
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Florida   7:00pm
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Dallas   9:00pm
Colorado  
Vancouver   9:00pm
Edmonton  
Vegas   10:30pm
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Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Martin Truex Jr 24
2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
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1 2 Tyler Reddick 4
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 19 Brandon Jones 6
4 00 Cole Custer 1
5 7 Justin Allgaier 3
6 9 Noah Gragson 36
7 08 Gray Gaulding 16
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 13
9 18 Riley Herbst 15
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9