Rossi Quickly Outpaces Indy Setback

Alexander Rossi at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. © [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

Alexander Rossi at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. © [Andy Clary/ Spacesuit Media]

by Allan Brewer

Indianapolis 500 runner-up Alexander Rossi sprang ahead of the IndyCar field at Belle Isle, MI by more than a half-second in the final practice prior to qualifying for the first of two street-course races this weekend.

Does it really mean anything toward handicapping them?

“Well, no,” he said considering most of the teams did not get a chance to practice on the softer, faster red tires as Rossi did. He also cited prior knowledge he and the Andretti Autosports’ team gathered over the years concerning the variations in the surface of the track, something for which the course has become infamous (if not notorious).

“Yeah, it’s definitely a unique place,” he said. “You have to learn to love the bumps. When I first came here, it was quite a shock from all of the other street tracks we go to.”

Rossi also gave up a tip on how to minimize the bumpiness: “ There’s certain bumping in braking zones and in corners that you have to take a slightly different line or approach with your driving style–you can mitigate the impact that the bumps have.”

In a series as competitive as IndyCar even a small improvement in technique can yield a slight difference in lap time and, eventually, track position more favorable than an ordinary racing line.

Rossi did not get away before addressing one large elephant in the room: Has he consolidated his feelings after the bitter disappointment of finishing second in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. “I think we’re all pretty jealous of Simon (Pagenaud),” he said to a question. “I’d prefer to be in his shoes right now.”
He reported watching the start of the race, then powering the TV down.

“I’m over it,” Rossi said. “I haven’t watched all of it. I’ve watched clips. I roughly know what happened. The past is behind us. We’ve moved on.”

“For now, we’re on Detroit, so that’s what’s important,”he said. “I am going to go try to win two races. From a points perspective, it just as important as the 500.”

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