1st lap accident takes out 3 Andretti cars including Rossi

MADISON, Ill — Alexander Rossi’s no good, very bad 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season continues. It’s becoming laughable at this point just how much bad luck this talented American has had this year.

It all started in the season opener at Texas where his ECU failed him. By time he got going, despite qualifying eighth, he was penalized. He finished 15th as a result of not ever being able to make up lost ground.

For the Indy GP it was a mechanical failure just 41 laps into it. He finished 25th. For Road America 1, he had bad luck early and would finish 19th. He sat 22nd in the points standings then.

Things started to turn around via a third, sixth and eighth place finishes respectively after. Then, at Indy for last Sunday’s ‘500, he has a questionable pit penalty for unproper release. While trying to battle his way back up, he crashed and finished 27th.

On Saturday, he started ninth for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. The field got going to quickly as Oliver Askew went low to get going too fast and got into the back of Simon Pagenaud. Pagenaud then got into Rossi while Rossi was minding his own business.

“Everyone seemed to check up in front of me in the midfield and made some contact with the front wing,” Askew said.

It was all sparked when Alex Palou jumped out first which Pagenaud followed.

The race didn’t start off like we wanted,” Palou said. “I tried to avoid hitting the car in front of me as we were coming to take the green flag. They checked up in front of me, and I pulled out of line to avoid contact, but I still got penalized for pulling out of line before the green.”

Pagenaud was equally as frustrated.

“That was a little too much excitement for the start of the race at the back,” Pagenaud said. “The front of the pack slowed down; I don’t know if it was the accordion affect or whatever that was. We had to pull out of line, and  all of a sudden someone hit us from behind. It is what it is, but it’s very unfortunate. You aren’t going to win the race in the first corner. People just need to be more patient. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

Rossi, was credited with a 22nd place finish as a result of all of this. That was his third finish outside the top 20 in eight tries this year.

“I thought at least a top five was possible, and we didn’t even get to do 100 feet,” Rossi said. “There’s just no way around the disappointment. I was going in a straight line (coming to the green) and just got drilled. We just got hit. It sucks, really. Everything about this year has felt like a disaster, so we will see the rest of it goes. Fortunately, Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and Colton (Herta) were on a similar kind of setup as to what I was on, and the race went OK for them, so we’ll take what we can from that for tomorrow.

“We still want to win races, and that’s what we are here for. It’s very frustrating for the NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation boys. But in the big scheme of things, there’s a lot bigger issues in the world right now in 2020, so this is relatively minor, but it still sucks.”

Not only was it bad luck for him, it was for Andretti Autosport as a whole. Zach Veach and Marco Andretti were also collected in that opening race incident as three of the five Andretti cars were out before they even took the green flag.

“Sad to see the day end before it began for us,” Andretti said. “I saw everything happening in front of me and had the car whoa’d up. I got the car stopped, and then (Zach) Veach got into the back of me. Just really disappointed  for the Oberto Circle K boys. They’re working hard tonight on repairs, and we will look for a better day tomorrow.”

Ed Carpenter was also upset too as he was collected as well.

“I am pretty bummed out,” Carpenter said. “Second race in a row that I’ve been representing one of the Forces, the U.S. Air Force this weekend. I was basically out of the race before it started, also for the second race in a row. Zach Veach is the current theme right now. He obviously didn’t see the yellow flag or the bright yellow car spinning on the track.”

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