Big race coming to Austin

A Q&A with IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi is one of Indy-car's brightest stars. Over the course of his four years, he has won five races including the 100th annual Indianapolis 500 back in 2016. I was lucky enough to be able to talk with him over the phone about this year's Indy-car Classic in Austin's Circuit Of The America's and what you can expect for this year's Indy-Car Season:

Q: So first and foremost, this is a brand new track for you guys. I saw you were No. 1 on the speed chart for your test session, I know you had some experience here in F1 but how was it getting a feel for this new track here in Indy-Car?

AR: Yeah You are absolutely right. It might as well have been a new track because the cars are so much different but, yeah it was a really positive two days for the whole Andretti Auto-sport Organization and we learned a lot of what works and what doesn't and how to maximize the car around that track and definitely having some prior circuit knowledge was a good thing for us and looking forward to using that to our advantage next month.

2- While both cars are vastly different, how does your prior experiences in F1 kind of translate over into what you have going on now?

AR: Very Roughly, yes. I mean it's still the same racetrack regardless of what you car you're driving, you still have the areas where you need to maximize your lap times and of course you have little tricks you do in certain corners but at the end of the day it's a very different race car so you have to kind of rework your driving style a little bit and in a way kind of relearn parts of the racetrack in order to be fast in an Indy-car.

3-For maybe some of the newer fans of open-wheel racing, can you kind of explain the difference between an F1 Car and an Indycar?

AR: The biggest thing really is money. They're both open-wheel cars, they both have a huge amount of Down-force, very lightweight but the biggest thing is a Formula 1 team's budget. If you look at a like a Mercedes Benz type of team, they spend about $300 Million whereas a single-car Indy-car team spends about somewhere in the $4-5 million range, so it's a tenth of the budget so the car's are a little bit rougher. These car's don't have power-steering, they slide around a lot more and you have to work a bit harder to achieve your lap times but at the end of they're still the second quickest open wheel cars on the planet, we are just doing it at a tenth of the budget. With that being said, the racing we are able to put and the show we are able to create with our cars being SPEC puts a whole lot more on the teams and drivers and you have results are that are whole lot closer.

4-To kind of get back to Circuit Of The Americas, with you being sort of the world renowned racer that you are is there any tracks that this track reminds you of?

AR: Yeah, I mean it was designed by one of the same guys who designed a lot of the tracks in Europe so some of the corners are very similar. You know the Esses are similar to the corners in Silverstone, the stadium section you see at Hockenheim so it's very much like a track where I grew up racing around. Austin is a very special track in that sense, you know it's got a little bit of everything.

You can hear the entire interview above.

Kylebusch.com


This Saturday, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads for Richmond Raceway for the first night race of 2019. This track is a 0.75 D-shaped oval and is the second of back-to-back short track races for the series. The track is one of the more spacious of the short track group as the track has multiple groves to pass on so there should be plenty of side-by-side racing come race-day and don't be surprised if someone uses their bumper to get by someone for the win like we saw back in 2016 with Kyle Busch and his former teammate Carl Edwards.

Last week, Kyle Busch came back from a crash in the early stages to win his third race of the season. This race was one of the most entertaining of the season as both Kyle and his brother Kurt battled all throughout the closing laps but unfortunately The big story of the weekend, was not the great race that we saw. Come Monday all NASCAR fans wanted to talk about was how there were"empty seats" in the grandstands. While I can understand how a lot of fans are scorning the new direction of the sport and some of their complaints are valid but I don't think that this should overshadow what a great race we saw Sunday. Overall, while yes NASCAR is in a slump right now, but it doesn't help matters for some "fans" to continue to talk about how the sport is "dying" and A lot of the times, these people don't even offer any solutions either, they just talk about how bad the sport is doing and relive the glory days and that helps no one. Needless to say, I think we can all agree though that there needs to be serious changes made to help NASCAR get to where it needs to be and there are a whole laundry list of things that can be tweaked. One thing is the schedule could use some changes; there are tracks new to this series that fans might be interested in seeing like Circuit Of The Americas or a short track like Iowa Speedway. There have been grumblings of a massive overhaul come 2021 so I hope that this can drum up some more interest in the sport.

Going into this week, no driver has been on a hotter streak than Kyle Busch. As I stated earlier, last week at Bristol he won his third race of 2019; not only has he been winning races left and right but he has been consistently up front as well. He has finished in the top 10 in all eight races in 2019, something only Terry Labonte has done all the way back in 1992 and unfortunately for the competition, Richmond Raceway is a track he has thrived on ever since he started driving stock cars; in fact he got his first NASCAR Xfinity victory at this track all the way back in 2004. This track just seems to cater to Kyle's driving style and he should have no trouble contending for the victory come Saturday.

The driver that I have winning this week is not Kyle Busch though because I am taking the elder of the two in Kurt Busch to win this week. This year, the driver they call the outlaw has really shined and while he hasn't won a race yet, I think this week is the week. Over the course of his nearly 21 years in racing at this track, he has definitely had his ups downs here but he has found success. He was able to win here back in 2015 and all the way back in 2005 so it's clear that he knows how to run at this track. Not only is he coming to a track that he is good at, but he is riding a wave of momentum as he has finished six of the eight races this year in the top 10 and has easily been the fastest Chevy in the field. I look for Kurt to win his first of many in 2019 as he looks to contend for a championship in what very well could be his final season in NASCAR.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats).

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