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.

NASCAR heads to Michigan for the FireKeepers 400

FireKeepers Casino 400 preview

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images


This week, NASCAR heads to Michigan for the FireKeepers 400. This is one of the biggest tracks on the circuit as it is exactly two miles in length and has wide 18 degree banking in the corners making it one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. With the track being as wide as it is, we should be able to see a lot of green flag runs that could very well bring for more pit road strategy.

Like last week at Pocono, it will be crucial for these drivers to make no mistakes in pit road if they want any chance at victory.

Of course the main point of intrigue this week is how these cars will respond to NASCAR's new rules package. It seems like every week, there is always a question about how these cars are going to run. Overall, it would appear that no one has any idea what's going to happen this week. We very well could see a big pack of cars that run together in a draft or we could see the field get spread out like we have been seeing at tracks like this. As important as this rules package is, many drivers and fans are growing tired of talking about it. When last week's winner Kyle Busch was asked how he would rate it, he responded by saying "STOP ASKING ME PACKAGE QUESTIONS! I'M DONE ANSWERING THEM!"

While many people didn't appreciate his attitude towards the question, I think that he is right for the most part about how difficult it is to race under these new guidelines on tracks like Pocono. Last week's race was not good as there was no passing. Kyle Busch lead a good majority of the laps and when it was all said and done the whole field was two or three seconds apart. Now in a 36 race season, I understand that there are going to be races like this, it has been like that since the sport began but NASCAR has continued to talk about how much closer the racing would be under these new rules and a lot of the time most people have been disappointed. It will be interesting to see how it works this week at a similar track in Michigan.

The driver that I have winning this week is Kevin Harvick. While it may sound like I am picking a favorite here, This season has been somewhat of a disappointment for these guys. While they are fifth in the standings and are doing a good job of collecting points, he has yet to win a race this season. While they have had the speed and have been able to run around the top five, they just have not been able to seal the deal. In his five years with Stewart-Haas Racing, this is the longest Harvick has gone without a win. By anyone else's standards, they would kill to have a season like this but for Harvick, I know that he is not happy with where they are right now so I look for them to come to Michigan and finally get their first win of 2019.

Another driver I see doing well this week is Austin Dillion. Despite his issues in the past couple of weeks at Charlotte and Pocono, he has shown good speed this season as he has been able to run around the top 15. Now if you look at the stat sheet, it would tell you that Dillion has struggled here but over the last couple of races at the track, he has steadily improved. In last year's Fall race here, he was able to finish fourth in one of his better races of 2018. It should be a bounce back week for Dillion as he looks to get back in the hunt to make the playoffs.

(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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