2018 continues to prove to the rest of the racing world that the Verizon IndyCar Series cannot stop winning. The new aero package has put competitors on a level playing field considering that there isn’t a discrepancy among manufacturers. The quality of the competitors in the field is top notch, and to boot the racing this season has been phenomenal.
According to 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, the sport has even been generating some much wanted (and needed) mainstream attraction.
“I really think there has been a lot of extra buzz at the races this year,” said Rossi, who appeared on the most recent season of CBS’s The Amazing Race with fellow IndyCar driver Conor Daly. “It seems like there’s more fans in the stands and definitely more people who come and ask about the show.”
Rossi also co-hosts the podcast Off Track with fellow IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, where they tackle topics both racing-related and mainstream. But when it comes to IndyCar’s mainstream media presence, he is optimistic where the sport stands in comparison to NASCAR and Formula One.
“We’re not on their level, but we hope to get there soon and we have momentum,” said Rossi. “We have a lot of young talented drivers who can perform on the track, but also do things off-track to showcase their personalities.”
The Andretti-Herta Autosport driver currently sits second in points following the Indianapolis Grand Prix, where his NAPA Racing Honda finished fifth behind winning Team Penske driver Will Power. Rossi has already gone to Victory Lane this season, winning at Long Beach in the third race of the season.
According to Rossi, the credit for the excellent racing product this season goes to both the drivers and the cars this season, placing emphasis on the onslaught of rookies this year, pointing out that their level of talent just makes the talent level of the field even deeper and more competitive, which in turn brings the best out of each driver.
Rossi is quick to credit his team for his growth and success, stating that great cars and great teammates can go a long way in the IndyCar garage.
“Having a good car underneath you, and great veteran racers like [Ryan] Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, makes it easy to learn,” said Rossi. “The team has made a step forward each year on all types of courses. We are ready to compete against anyone on all types of tracks.”
With the Indianapolis 500 less than two weeks from now, Rossi’s chances of success are high. Along with his 2016 victory in the event as a rookie, he placed seventh there a year ago after leading 23 laps. His average finish of fourth in the event should give him the confidence needed to contend for the victory if the last two Indy 500s are any indicator of his performance.