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.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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