make it under our own power, so let’s
build up as much speed as we can and
hope that momentum can do the rest.
Rossi’s likeness on the Borg-Warner
Trophy will forever record the fact that it
did. And, eventually, Rossi himself will be
able to fully process what he achieved.
“Most of the time, if you’re in that big a
hole, you’re not going to come out of it,”
It’s a typically understated and
reflective meditation from one of the
most understated and reflective drivers
in the paddock; a guy who, by his count,
received 1,300 messages via text and
social media in the aftermath of his win,
but who scooted away from the
traditional “morning after” photoshoot to
celebrate by going to a chain restaurant
with his trainer for a sandwich.
A lot of Rossi’s mystique comes from
the way he straddles two racing worlds:
he’s never hidden his openness to a
competitive seat in Formula 1, and yet his
stopgap move to the U.S. – if that’s what
it is – paid much bigger, earlier dividends
than anyone could have imagined.
Rossi is adept at dodging questions
about where he sees his future. But for
now, the first job is to process what has
happened in the present...
2011 DAN WHELDON
Rookie JR Hildebrand was trying to
stretch his fuel load to the limits when
he glanced the Turn 4 outside wall
while leading on the final lap. Wheldon,
driving a car fielded by Bryan Herta,
zipped past, and took the lead just
1,000 feet from the bricks.
Alexander Rossi’s unorthodox route
to Indianapolis 500 glory was
entirely in keeping with the history
of the No. 98 at the Brickyard. Rossi
was the fourth driver to usher that
car number into Victory Lane – a
tally that elevates it to joint sixth on
Indy’s all-time win list for numbers.
(Yes, there is such a thing...)
ANOTHER ONE FOR NO. 98
1952 TROY RUTTMAN
Bill Vukovich held command for
150 laps, only to suffer a broken
steering link nine laps from the finish.
His departure paved the way for
short-track star Ruttman to become
the youngest Indy winner at 22 years
and 80 days – a record that still stands.
1963 PARNELLI JONES
Jones qualified on pole and was
strong all race, until an oil leak raised
the specter of a black flag. The
decision not to wave it drew grumbling
from Lotus’s Colin Chapman, and also
led to fisticuffs between Jones and
Eddie Sachs the following day.
“I was pulling myself up
with the steering wheel,
trying to see when the car’s
nose would hit the line”
It can take time for
an Indy newcomer
to get up to speed
on all of the
Bryan Herta –
owner of the arm
reaching into the
shot – made sure
that the milk bath
was done properly.