Oval rookies Rossi and Stoneman optimistic for Phoenix

Andretti Autosport’s newbies in IndyCar and Indy Lights are enthusiastic about their prospects at Phoenix International Raceway.

Oval rookies Rossi and Stoneman optimistic for Phoenix
Dean Stoneman, Andretti Autosport
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Dean Stoneman, Carlin
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Dean Stoneman, Andretti Autosport
Dean Stoneman, Andretti Autosport
Michael Andretti
Listen to this article

Alexander Rossi, who attended but did not participate in IndyCar's Feb. 26-27 Phoenix test, said: “This weekend is going to be something completely new to me and my career. My first oval experience is something I’m incredibly excited about.”

The Andretti-Herta merger only came together in February, but Rossi emerged as top rookie at the Verizon IndyCar Series season-opener in St. Petersburg, finishing 12th.

He said: “The #98 team is growing every day and there has been a lot of effort after St. Pete both on and off track so we will be looking to translate that into a strong result.”

The American, who finished runner-up in last year’s GP2 series and made five Formula 1 starts, said that he would be looking to his team bosses Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta and teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz for pointers this weekend.

“I don’t really know what to expect,” said Rossi. “I will be relying a lot on the wealth of information and success around me in Bryan and Michael, as well as my teammates, to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Michael Andretti won at Phoenix in 1986, and has four other podium finishes to his name as well as a pole position. Herta, meanwhile, never achieved a podium finish at PIR, but started from pole twice – the last time a CART Indy car raced here in 1995 and the last time Indy Racing League raced here in 2005.

Stoneman surprised by PIR’s physical demands

As Dean Stoneman wrote in his first Motorsport.com column, the physical effort required to drive around a high-grip short-oval was an eye-opener for the Indy Lights rookie when he tested in February. But he impressed onlookers by finishing the test fourth fastest.

Stoneman said: “Our test here a few weeks ago went well. It is far more demanding than I expected, but we worked on a balanced car that gave me the confidence to push hard, and we’ll need that against some quick guys.

The Andretti Autosport Lights driver added: “It’s important to keep the momentum from the St. Pete going and collecting more championship points.”

Stoneman was top-four in practice for the season-opening rounds at St. Petersburg two weeks ago, but he was held up on his fastest lap in qualifying. Starting each of the two races from P13, he fought through to eighth and sixth places respectively.

shares
comments
Why sparks may fly over IndyCar's domed skids
Previous article

Why sparks may fly over IndyCar's domed skids

Next article

IndyCar reveals penalty guidelines

IndyCar reveals penalty guidelines
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021