Alexander Rossi won a hard fought victory at Sunday’s IndyCar Grand Prix of the Glen. From the beginning of the weekend, it seemed like Rossi had a feel for the historic track. However, the weekend, and the race was not without their challenges for Rossi who faced several challenges on his way to taking the checkered flag, including fickle weather, issues with tire grip, and fuel hose problems. Despite the challenges, Rossi persevered and earned his first win since his victory in the 2016 Indy 500.

Where there is a will there is a way and Alexander Rossi has the will

Earlier in the week, Alexander Rossi signed a contract extension with Andretti Autosport. Rossi offered this as one of the reasons he was so driven at the Glen. The confirmation of his contract extension allowed Rossi to be more relaxed and focused Rossi told Autoweek. Rossi also felt that his signing of the contract allowed the team to feel more relaxed and work more confidently together. Whether it was signing the contract or Rossi’s love of Watkins Glen, it was evident when he took the pole on Saturday that something was certainly driving the young up and coming driver.

On Sunday, the weather looked like it was going to be a problem.

Rained poured down on the track earlier in the day and by race time the question became wet or slick tires. Alexander Rossi did one lap on wets and switched to slicks with the rest of the field. Rossi had trouble getting traction on the partially wet track, and slick tires and Team Penske’s Helio Castro-Neves took the lead.

That wasn’t the end of Rossi’s problems, however. On the second pit stop, the team didn’t get all the fuel in the car and Rossi had to come back into the pits and once again gave up the lead. After regaining the lead, most of the field had to make another stop for fuel, but Rossi still had some fuel in the tank. He opened up a 12 second lead over the field.

From there Rossi, determined and driven, brought the Andretti Autosport Napa car home to victory.

With the checkered flag came big changes in the championship standings

Alexsander Rossi wasn’t the only one who had trouble on slicks Sunday. Points leader Josef Newgarden also had trouble, he went wide on the exit to pit lane and hit the wall. Adding insult to injury, Sebastian Bourdais was unable to avoid Newgarden and slammed into the back of his car. After the collision, Newgarden had to return several times to the pits to make adjustments and quick repairs to the car. The series of additional pit stops left Newgarden far back in the field and opened the door for Scott Dixon to take the lead in the championship points.

As the IndyCar series heads to Sonoma for the season finale September 15th-17th, the championship is up for grabs and more exciting than ever. Sonoma, like Watkins Glen, is a historic track and always a favorite for fans and teams alike. IndyCar has had a tremendous season, with different winners and championship leaders at every turn and veterans and new talent battling it out on the track. Alexander Rossi’s win at Watkins Glen is a perfect example of the excitement and straight up good racing that IndyCar has been offering fans all season and will leave them waiting expectantly for what next season will bring.