Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Alexander Rossi not focused on 3-peat

3 weeks ago 14

LONG BEACH — Making history is typically attractive to those involved in sports. Alexander Rossi is a different kind of guy, however.

Rossi was reminded Thursday at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach luncheon that if he were to win Sunday’s NTT IndyCar main event, he will be the first driver to three-peat since Sebastien Bourdain won the race from 2005-07.

Rossi won in 2018 and 2019. The race was not run in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is also why the race this year is being held in September instead of April.

NTT IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi won his second consecutive pole position for the 45th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Rossi then repeated as champion. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

NTT Indycar driver Alexander Rossi smiles as he places the P1 Pole Award sticker on the wing of his car following qualifying in 2018 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by, Will Lester- Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

NTT IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi has won the past two races in Long Beach, in 2018 and 2019, but he said he is not consumed with a three-peat this weekend (the event was not run in 2020). “Getting three in a row would be great, but that’s not really a focus. The focus is just on this weekend, and the past doesn’t really matter,” he said. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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“I’m just trying to have a strong end to the season, honestly,” said Rossi, 29, of Nevada City, Calif. “Getting three in a row would be great, but that’s not really a focus.”

He was very clear about this.

“The focus is just on this weekend, and the past doesn’t really matter,” said Rossi, of Andretti Autosport. “That success doesn’t really guarantee me anything, so we’re just trying to make sure we put our best foot forward and close out 2021 as strong as we possibly can.”

Sunday’s race is the season finale.

Rossi, currently 10th in series points with 304, found it difficult to explain why he’s had success on the streets of Long Beach.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s all about the car you have these days. And I think … the street-course package has been really strong for the past kind of three years. Obviously, missed it last year, but the street-course pace has been the same even with the addition of the Aeroscreen (for safety purposes).

“So, yeah, I don’t know. It’s great because it’s a home race for me. But, yeah, hopefully that trend continues this year. I think that we have as good a shot at it as we’ve had in years past.”

Al Unser Jr. is the only driver to win four consecutive times in Long Beach, beginning in 1988.

IMSA: TAYLOR SEEKS STRONG SHOWING

Teammates Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia (of Spain) of Corvette Racing currently sit in first place in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. There are three events to go, starting with this Saturday’s event in Long Beach.

Taylor on Thursday spoke about the ingredients for success to this point.

“We’re obviously in a good position for the championship, but everything’s still up for grabs,” said Taylor, 30, of Orlando, Fla. “If we leave here in a good position, I think we will be pretty confident in the last two and kind of race aggressively.

“But even saying that, this year we’ve raced aggressively every weekend and I think that’s why we’re in the position we are in for the championship.”

He intimated he can’t wait for Saturday’s race, which is slated for a 2:06 p.m. start.

“We want to keep winning races,” Taylor said. “Long Beach is a big one for us. It’s always one of the highlights of the year for us to come to, so we’re definitely going to be racing for the win.”

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