O’Reilly Auto Parts 500


DALLAS, Texas (June 1, 2016) – The following is an event recap with photo and video links from Wednesday’s Indianapolis 500 Champion’s Luncheon at The Owners Box restaurant at the Omni-Dallas Hotel with newly crowned winner Alexander Rossi. Rossi, the first American rookie to win the Indy 500 since Louis Meyer in 1928, is set to return to North Texas to compete in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 11. 

Event Recap 

Newly crowned Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was greeted to a standing ovation by a group of more than 250 Texas Motor Speedway season ticket holders, Speedway Club members and guests during a special luncheon at The Owners Box at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. Rossi, running on little sleep fresh off a New York City media tour, took part in a Q&A session, engaged with those fans in attendance, took park in a photo shoot highlighting him with the Dallas skyline as a backdrop and handled his media obligations. 

Rossi punctuated his visit with a celebratory milk toast with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and 11-year-old guest, Ashlyn Speed. Rossi, winner of the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500, became the first American rookie winner since Louis Meyer in 1928.

The Highlight

The afternoon’s most memorable moment didn’t come directly from Alexander Rossi, but from another driver – 11-year-old and junior karting sensation Ashlyn Speed. Speed, who missed school to attend the luncheon for a chance to meet Rossi, requested a written absence letter from him to provide to Principal Brooke Moose at Bear Creek Elementary in Euless.

Rossi joyfully obliged, writing a handwritten note that read: Please excuse Ashlyn Speed from school on Wednesday because she is getting to meet the 2016 Indy 500 winner, Alexander Rossi. Ms. Moose, Thank you for letting Ashlyn come. Signed Alexander Rossi.

Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage invited Speed on stage with him and Rossi as they took part in a ceremonial milk toast to conclude the luncheon. Speed wasted little time as she chugged the champagne flute of milk that was symbolic of the beverage given to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 while wearing the Borg-Warner wreath that also is given to the champ.


“It meant just as much to be competing in the Indianapolis 500. It was the largest Indy 500 that we’ve ever had. It was the greatest, largest motor race event in history, so it was great to be a part of that, but the end result was spectacular.” – Alexander Rossi on winning the Indianapolis 500.   

“After having tested previously at Texas Motor Speedway a month ago, it’s been one of the tracks I’ve been looking forward to the most. You have the similarities of speeds to Indianapolis, but aside from that there are multiple lanes on the track so you can have two- or three-wide racing, which to a driver is a lot of fun. For the fans, it’s pretty spectacular.” – Rossi on looking forward to racing at Texas Motor Speedway for the upcoming Firestone 600.

By The Numbers

88 – Years between American rookie drivers winning the Indianapolis 500, dating to three-time Indy 500 champion Louis Meyer’s first one in 1928.

10 – Number of rookie drivers that won the Indianapolis 500 in inaugural start.

6 – New position in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship, surging from 17th to sixth as a result of the Indy 500 being a double points race.

4 – Indy 500 wins for Andretti Autosport. Rossi joins Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Dario Franchitti (”˜07) and Dan Wheldon (’05).

Photo Link

Click here to view and/or download photos from the event.

Video Link

Click here for interview clips and b-roll from the event.

Upcoming Event At A Glance

Firestone 600 INDYCAR/NASCAR doubleheader, June 9-11

  • Thursday, June 9 - Rattlesnake 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practices; Friday, June 10 - Rattlesnake 400 race (8 p.m. CT, FOX Sports 1), Verizon IndyCar Series and Camping World Truck Series Star-Telegram Qualifying Day; Saturday, June 11 - Firestone 600 race (7:45 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network).
  • Tickets are available by contacting the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.


About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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