O’Reilly Auto Parts 500



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 and fresh off a New York City media tour, took part in a Q&A session, engaged with those fans in attendance, took part in a photo shoot highlighting him with the Dallas skyline as a backdrop and handled his media obligations.

The visit was part of a worldwind tour after Rossi’s improbable victory in the 100th Indianapolis 500. Rossi, a native of Nevada City, Calif., gambled with fuel strategy and the payoff proved to be a trip to Victory Lane with a bottle of milk in hand and his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy. He entered the Indianapolis 500 as a 66-to-1 long shot but his epic performance in just his sixth career Verizon IndyCar Series start allowed him to become the first American rookie winner of the prestigious race since Louis Meyer in 1928.

“No but it will continue to,” Rossi’s said when asked if his Indianapolis 500 victory had soaked in. “Every day I have random moments throughout the day that I kind of stare blankly at a wall and reflect on it. It’s still continuing to blow my mind. It’s pretty spectacular and the fact that I just had the opportunity to compete in the 100th running of the Indy 500 in general was pretty spectacular. I had never seen an event like that before in my life. I have never seen or been part of something so special.”

Rossi had only competed on one oval prior to hitting the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – his previous appearance coming at Phoenix International Raceway. Ovals were not a focus for Rossi during the early stages of his career as he looked toward making a name for himself in Formula One.

He left the United States at the age of 17 to race in Europe. Last year he reached the pinnacle of his Formula One aspirations as he made five starts for Manor Marussia, with his best finish of 12th coming at Circuit of the Americas. He became only the third American driver to race in Formula One since 1990.

“Not really,” Rossi said of being prepared to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “But the fortunate thing about the Indy 500 is you have an entire week of practice leading up to the event. I knew that I would be ready. But no, definitely when I first rolled out of pit lane for the very first time I was not even remotely prepared for what was to come.” 

Rossi will get his third dose of oval racing when his No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian competes in the Firestone 600 on Saturday, June 11. The first two oval races of the season have come on flatter tracks, with Texas Motor Speedway producing high speeds on 24-degrees of banking.

He experienced a taste of what Texas Motor Speedway has to offer when he participated in an open test session last may prior to the Indianapolis 500. It was that test session that left Rossi circling the date for his return to Texas.

“That is one of the races I’ve been looking forward to the most,” Rossi said of the Firestone 600. “We had a test here a month ago and it was only the second oval I had driven on – after Indy and Phoenix. I feel in love with the track. It was awesome. I think the racing is going to be pretty spectacular with guys going two and three wide.”

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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