Three races into the 2020 season, Alexander Rossi looks hopelessly out of the championship chase.
Rossi suffered through his third straight miserable outing at Road America on Saturday, starting 11th and finishing 19th on the road course he totally dominated a year ago.
He now has finishes of 15th, 25th and 19th and is 21st in the standings — leaving him 124 points behind leader Scott Dixon. He was three laps down before the season opener at Texas began because of electrical problems; suffered more mechanical issues at the Indy Grand Prix; and was never a factor Saturday in practice, qualifying or the race.
Rossi hasn’t led a lap in his AutoNation/NAPA Honda since a year ago here, and the frustration surely must be mounting for the 28-year-old American who challenged strongly for the title the past two years.
“I guess that is the good thing about having two qualifying sessions and two races: We get to look at it overnight and have a blank slate tomorrow,” said Rossi, referring to Sunday’s second half of the IndyCar doubleheader. “In the past, you’d have to wait a year to come back, so we’ll take that as a small silver lining.
“I think if we can answer some questions, we have the opportunity to be a top-five car tomorrow,” he added.
Rossi’s race on Saturday began and ended with an off-course excursion.
“We got a good start but got caught out in Turn 13 with cold tires — went off track and caught a bit of sign board under our front wing. So we had to (pit), and that pretty much set our day,” explained the 2016 Indy 500 winner. “I think our pace was OK. Those last restarts, I felt like we were middle of the road — stronger than a couple cars and weaker than a few cars behind us.
“We had some contact with (Max) Chilton in Turn 6, which gave us a flat tire and ultimately ended our day. I think we could’ve finished 14th, but instead we finished 19th. Nothing was really going well after Lap 1, so we will have to figure it out for tomorrow. We need to understand a couple question marks that we have.”