Alexander Rossi signs deal to stay with Andretti Autosport

CRAIG MERZ (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- Alexander Rossi doesn't know how the chase for his first IndyCar series championship will play out, but he now knows where he'll be working after the season.

Andretti Autosport announced Saturday that Rossi signed a multiyear contract to stay with the organization that took him on as a rookie in 2016 when he won the Indianapolis 500. The 27-year-old driver would have been a free agent after this season.

''This is the only team I know and this is home for me and we were able to pull it off and make it happen,'' he said. ''I'm honored I've got a vote of confidence from Andretti Autosport.''

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Rossi finished second in the season points standings to Scott Dixon in 2018. He trails leader Josef Newgarden by 29 points this year entering the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday. Rossi is the defending champion.

He has seven career wins, including at Long Beach and Road America this season in the No. 27 Honda. Rossi was considered the top pending free agent, and keeping him was paramount for Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti.

Rossi joins Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach in being retained by Andretti Autosport for 2020.

''It's fantastic not only for our team but for our sport,'' Michael Andretti said. ''It helps keep the competitive balance.''

Rossi's contract includes co-sponsorship with NAPA Auto Parts and AutoNation.

''It's important for the whole 27 team to have,'' Rossi said. ''This part of the year is always stressful for everyone. We can focus forward and do the job we need to do day in and day out.

''I'm happy we can move forward. I'm happy everyone's No.1 goal was able to be put together and build upon a very strong foundation.''

Rossi can concentrate solely on catching Newgarden, but time is running out with 12 of the 17 races completed.

''There's five really critical races left and the other 12 don't matter for me,'' Rossi said. ''We're close enough at this point that every race matters and is unpredictable and this can go in any direction. It's important to take the opportunities when they come.''

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