Brutal day in Texas for Andretti team

Image courtesy of Andretti Autosport

Brutal day in Texas for Andretti team


Brutal day in Texas for Andretti team


The XPEL 375 was a punishing affair for the Andretti Autosport team as every conceivable manner of adversity struck the four-car operation. First it was Alexander Rossi, whose No. 27 Honda lost power as an electrical issue depleted his battery and brought an end to his race after 11 of the 248 laps.

“What a horrible way to start and end the day,” he said. “I think we had an awesome car and went into the race with a lot of confidence. On lap 2 we started losing power and ultimately had to retire the car with an electrical issue. All we can do is look ahead to Long Beach.”

After the cartoon anvil was done with Rossi, it found Romain Grosjean in the No. 27 Honda who coasted to a stop on pit lane with light hints of smoke emanating from his engine’s exhaust pipes.

“Unfortunately, our day ended early today,” he said after retiring on Lap 103. “The first 100 laps were good and the car felt nice. It is certainly very hard to pass on this circuit. I learned a lot this weekend and we will have more for the rest of the season.”

Next on the list was Andretti rookie Devlin DeFrancesco, who didn’t make a lot of friends on his IndyCar oval debut which concluded in a big three-car crash he caused on lap 120.

“It was a rough way to end the day,” he said. “Again, I just want to apologize to Helio [Castroneves] and Graham [Rahal]. It was a mistake, but I’ll learn from it and move forward. I want to thank the crew because they put together an awesome car.”

Rahal did his best to take the incident in stride.

“As I said to Devin, he’s got a bright future but obviously he punted Takuma [Sato] earlier in the race,” he said. “You’ve got to learn from these mistakes. It’s tight in there, but when you’ve only got a right-front [wheel] to a left-rear [wheel[, then you’ve got to bail out, particularly at speeds like this.”

The cartoon anvil’s final act was to intercede between Colton Herta’s left-front wheel and the wheel nut meant to hold the wheel in place during the final pit stop. Although Herta’s No. 27 Honda pit crew got the nut tightened and sent their driver on his way, sitting still for nearly twice the length of an average stop came with losing a lap and any chance of a quality finish.

“Today was a rough day all around,” he said after falling out of the top five and placing 12th. “I felt confident going into the race with the changes we made yesterday. Things just didn’t come together the way we hoped.”

With nothing else to say about a day where the Andretti team had the race occurrence of all four entries running afoul of good fortune, Herta followed his teammates in pivoting to the next event.

“My focus,” he said, “is on my home race of Long Beach.”