Alexander Rossi dazzled in his fourth foray into the Indianapolis 500 that was akin to his "clutch-and-coast" fuel saving win in 2016 and his blast from 31st to fourth last year.

Rossi ultimately came up .2086 of a second short to Simon Pagenaud after a 13-lap battle to the bricks. He snagged the lead in Turn 1 with three to go only to lose it for good in Turn 3 the very next lap.

"It was pretty inevitable," said the driver of the No. 27 Napa Auto Parts Honda for Andretti Autosport. "I think you saw on the last restart, like he just drove by us. There was the opportunity there to get the lead. I had been working on it for 12, 13 laps, and it finally came, and I didn't have a choice.

"I just had to hope that maybe he would lose so much behind me and that Takuma or Josef or whatever would get him, and I would be able to have enough of a cushion for the final two laps. But I passed him in 1 and he was straight back by me into Turn 1, so there was nothing I could do."

His fourth 500 included more than his share of drama in a bid for this second win in the 500-mile Memorial Day Classic. A malfunctioning fuel buckeye caused an audaciously long pitstop on Lap 137.

Rossi pounded the steering will in angst having encountered his third refueling issue in as many races at Indy.

"When you come here four times and three of the times you can't get fuel in the car, I think you can understand why I was upset," he said. "It can't happen, it wasn't a human error, it was a mechanical problem, but still, it's not something that we can have here. It's the biggest race in the world, and 75 percent of the time we can't get fuel in the race car."

A yellow flag for Marcus Ericsson's spin a lap later prevented Rossi from losing too many spots and kept him in the hunt.

The intensity only ramped up on the restart battled the lapped car of Oriol Servia. The 2018 NTT IndyCar Series runner up was nearly forced into the wall by the Spaniard heading down the frontstretch.

Rossi then shook his fist in anger at Spaniard and pulled no punches when asked about the incident.

"It was one of the most disrespectful things I've ever seen in a race car, to be honest," he said. "He's a lap down and defending, putting me to the wall at 230 miles an hour. It's unacceptable. It's unacceptable for him, and it's unacceptable that IndyCar allowed it to happen as long as they did."

He eventually found himself in contention for the win after a late red flag set up a 14-lap shootout for the win. Ultimately, he could only watch as Pagenaud muscled his way past with relative ease with a lap and a half remaining.

Rossi mounted a charge heading into Turn 3 of the final lap but Pagenaud made his No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet four lanes wide which was enough to secure his maiden Indy 500 win.

Rob Edwards, Rossi's race strategist and Andretti Autosport COO, hinted at calling a blocking call on Pagenaud while Rossi saw it as pure hard racing.

"He was moving in reaction for sure, but the last lap of the Indy 500, they're not going to do anything about it," he said. "It's kind of irrelevant."

Rossi hinted at his struggle to pass Pagenaud due a possible horsepower shortage by manufacturer Honda, but he iterated that there was nothing inherently wrong with the powerplant and it is just part of the competition of the sport.

"Ultimately it wasn't enough, but no, I think they're doing everything they can, and until there's a change in the regulations, it's just everyone is kind of at their maximum," he said. "We are definitely, I think, stronger on some tracks, they're stronger on others, and that's apparently -- the parity is kind of what makes this series what it is."


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