Alexander Rossi’s first day of lapping the Long Beach circuit left the native Californian impressed with the legendary street course.
“It’s an amazing place. It’s a cool track and I really enjoy it,” the Andretti Herta Autosport driver told RACER. “The weird thing is there’s no standardized width! That’s the thing I realized drastically around here; it’s eight cars wide, then it’s two cars wide… It’s interesting, it’s fun, it’s fast, and even though there’s a lot of second-gear corners, it flows pretty well. It’s got the most history of any street circuit in the States and it’s in my top-3, for sure.”
Rossi’s first Verizon IndyCar Series practice session at Long Beach was cut short Friday morning when he buried his No. 98 Honda in the tire barriers toward the end of the one-hour outing.
“I felt really comfortable from lap 1 way more than I did in St. Pete, so it’s pretty positive,” said Rossi, who is one of three impressive rookies in the series. “This morning wasn’t great, but this afternoon was OK. We didn’t get a chance to do new tires at the end [of FP2], so we weren’t as high as we could have been, but it went well overall.”
Born in Nevada City in Northern California, Rossi grew up racing go-karts in the state, but with his career taking an early turn toward Europe, this weekend’s Long Beach race will serve as his first professional outing on home soil.
“It’s crazy that I’ve never really raced [professionally] in California; the last time I race here was in 2007 with Formula BMW and that was in San Diego,” he said. “The fan reception so far has been really awesome. IndyCar lets the fans right in so they can get up close and interact with the drivers, which is cool. I’m really happy to be here.”
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