INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — How did the soft-spoken Californian, once awestruck as an Indianapolis 500 winner, suddenly spark into IndyCar’s must watch show?
Alexander Rossi’s 2019 highlight reel is unmatched: The maneuvering in traffic. The passing ability that competitors can’t replicate. And even — raw emotion behind the wheel!
If the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was Rossi’s coming out party, last May’s edition was the Andretti star’s chance to tell everyone (especially Oriol Servia) to get off the dance floor.
Rossi’s raw talent now equals legitimate championship experience and that means the time to win big is now.
The first glimpse for fans of that internal fire? Indianapolis last May during a crucial fueling issue in the pits — and the steering wheel of the No. 27 machine paid the highest price.
“I am pretty surprised the steering wheel wasn’t broken after that,” Rossi joked. “I am pretty surprised my wrist wasn’t hurt after that (laughs).”
“Silly season” is IndyCar slang for drivers playing musical chairs between teams. This time around in 2020, the changes were crazy. But the biggest rumor this time last year, a Rossi and Andretti Autosport divorce, never even took off.
“It was a contract year. We were talking to two different teams, but what remained consistent during the process was I want to stay and the team wanted me to stay.”
With the contract set for 2020 and beyond, and an impressive third place series finish in 2019 in the rearview mirror, there is only one task on the table ahead of the season opener at St. Petersburg, Florida, this Sunday.
“We are just trying to win a championship,” Rossi said. “We have come close the last couple of years, but for whatever reason, we haven’t gotten it done. I think this has been one of the best off-seasons as a team that we have ever had.”
Look out people. Here comes the 27.