LONG BEACH — It was another Sunday drive along the beach for Alexander Rossi.
Right into the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach record book.
Rossi led 80 of the 85 laps to win in dominant fashion Sunday, a record 20.235 seconds ahead of second-place Josef Newgarden.
“You never think you’re going to dominate a race like that,” Rossi said after his sixth career IndyCar victory. “The NAPA team just gave us an awesome car. There are a bunch of guys behind you who are very fast, so you can never relax.”
A year ago the Nevada City, California, native led 71 laps en route to a dominating victory
The total of 151 laps led in two years is another Long Beach Grand Prix record.
The only real drama of the day came on the final lap when Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal battled for third place and a spot on the podium.
Rahal had no push-to-pass throttle boost left, and tried to keep Dixon behind him. IndyCar stewards reviewed the tape and assessed an improper blocking penalty that sent Dixon to the podium.
“I can’t complain,” Rahal said after Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s second straight strong weekend. “We had another good day, and it sends us into May at Indianapolis with momentum.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth. Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe and Swedish rookie Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top 10.
Rookie Colton Herta of Valencia was the fastest in the morning warmup, and got as high as third place during the first cycle of pit stops.
But Herta tagged the wall on Lap 50, bending irreparably the suspension on his No. 88 King Taco Honda.
He finished dead last for the second straight weekend.
“I feel awful about this,” Herta said. “The team gave me a great car all weekend, then I made a mistake that hurt the entire team.
“I had so many family and friends, and so many fans who came out to support me. They were awesome.”
Rossi didn’t make a single mistake in joining Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais as the only repeat IndyCar champions in Long Beach history.
“It takes a little while to sink in when you see your name listed with the greats like that,” Rossi said. “When you race IndyCars, Long Beach is one of those places you dream about winning.
“To do it two straight years is … I don’t have the words.”