Alexander Rossi moves up to P5 in 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship

As the 2016 Championship season reaches its mid-way mark, Alexander now sits on a points tally of 242 overall.

Alexander Rossi moves up to P5 in 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Takuma Sato, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda, Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda accident
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet takes the checkered flag
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda pit action
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda

Alexander Rossi has moved up to P5 in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship after collecting solid points at the double weekend header in Detroit, Michigan. As the 2016 Championship season reaches its mid-way mark, Alexander now sits on a points tally of 242 overall, and is just 17 points away from 4th place driver Josef Newgarden.

This weekend saw the Californian driver return to the No 98 NAPA Auto Parts / Curb Honda blue and yellow car for the only double-header race weekend on the calendar. The 2.34-mile, 13-turn street circuit on Belle Isle in Detroit presented numerous challenges to drivers - from hard braking zones to speedy straights - with minimal opportunities for overtaking.

I believe we could’ve gained a couple more positions though, and know there is the potential for much, much more.

Alexander Rossi

Alexander lined up in P17 on the grid, following a challenging first qualifying session, and Race 1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series double-header weekend in Detroit saw 70 laps dictated by fuel strategy and the threat of rain. An action-packed race gave plenty of drama, with fans on the edge of their seats as the high octane battle unfolded. When the twin-checkers flew, the Andretti Autosport team saw three of four entrants finish inside the top 10, with Carlos Muñoz leading the way in sixth, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay in seventh and Alexander Rossi driving a strong race to finish in 10th.

The second qualifying session gave Alexander the opportunity to put the No. 98 at the sharp end of the grid, with his fastest lap placing him in P6 overall. However, he was handed a penalty for failing to slow under yellow, and with his best lap scratched, and no further time available to re-do the fast lap, the American driver had to line up in P18 on the grid.

Another eventful race on Sunday was met with plenty of incident, including a first lap scrap which took several cars out of the running. Alexander narrowly avoided serious contact, however picked up damage to his front wing, meaning he had a lengthy change of nose cone during his first pitstop, setting him back further. Despite this, Alexander was able to battle back up through the field, working his way into the top ten, running in P4 before he took over the lead of the race for several laps as the pitstop strategies played out. After a final splash for fuel, the American driver crossed the line in P12 overall, picking up more valuable points in his Championship fight.

The teams now head to Texas for the Firestone 600, taking place from the 10th - 11th June, as the 16-race calendar enters its second half on the high banks of Texas Motor Speedway. Qualifying coverage on NBCSN begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday and race coverage on NBCSN starts at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Bryan Herta: "It was sort of a weird weekend in Detroit - the pace was good at times but we had a few unlucky breaks that compromised ultimate results. Overall, we have improved to P5 in the Championship which puts us in a good spot and now we turn our focus to Texas."

Alexander Rossi: “The initial qualifying session really surprised me. Based on where my teammates were in practice, I thought we’d be looking pretty good in qualifying. I felt really comfortable in that session in the NAPA car, compared to where I was in practice, so to be in a group toward the bottom again was disappointing. Starting 17th on any street track was always going to be tough for Race 1 on Saturday. We did a decent job maximizing our race performance and I’m positive about coming away with a top ten finish – I believe we could’ve gained a couple more positions though, and know there is the potential for much, much more.

“The second qualifying session today was really important for us - we wanted to put the NAPA Auto Parts / Curb Honda higher on the grid so we had a better ability to prove we have a great race car. I was frustrated to pick up the penalty as we were looking very strong and had worked hard to get up to the sharp end of the grid. The race was a busy one for me - I picked up some front wing damage trying to avoid the incident on the opening lap, which cost us some time in the pitstop. The biggest thing we need to understand is why it takes us so long to come up to speed on cold tires. Ultimately P11 is not a bad result given our start position, however it’s not reflective of where we should be, so the focus will be on working hard together to maximise the car’s performance for Texas, and I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car.”

Alexander Rossi

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