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June 10, 2022

Alexander Rossi

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Practice number one in the books. Alexander Rossi quickest today in the NAPA Auto Parts AutoNation Honda for Andretti Autosport.

Alex, your day, 75 minutes, how was it?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, it was good. It's a bit weird to have the Firestone alternates on day one, so it will be interesting to see how that translates tomorrow. Obviously the track evolution will continue to get better every session of the weekend. We'll have to see how that translates from practice one all the way to qualifying.

The car rolled off really strong, which is positive on these weekends where it's so close you got to start from a good point. Hats off to the team for the effort that they did in the prep for this event. We just got to keep it rolling.

THE MODERATOR: Back to back top fives for you. Do you feel like good things are happening right now with this team?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, everything has been good so far. The month of May was good for us. Unfortunately the GP didn't work out as we hoped. There's been a lot of silver linings, if you will. Yeah, we just hopefully can go one step higher than last weekend here on Sunday.


Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I'm not sure I understand what you mean. We do have that option tonight.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Right. Yeah, I guess there's a pro and a con, right? The pro is you have more time, if you're off on the reds, to adapt to it with the way that it is now. However, the swing, like the track evolution usually from practice one to practice two is like over a second, then it takes another small step to qualifying.

Now what you have to do is see, okay, the reds were good when the track was average, and then kind of guesstimate based on how good the track in theory is going to go in practice two, right? You don't actually have an understanding of what the alternates are going to do on the better track.

Does that matter? I hope not, right, because obviously we are in a good spot. It is new for all of us. If it makes a difference or not, I don't know yet.

It's certainly something we're going to have to make the offset adjustments going into the qualifying. You got to make those a little bit bigger than we have had in the past couple weekends.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I think the track was uncluttered because it's four and a half miles, right? That's the big thing.

Yeah, I think you did more laps in practice one, but you're going to see less in practice two. I think it will net out to be the same. We had the same set of tires, right?

For us as a team we look at the set of tires we have, how many you need for the race and qualifying, and your plan of Fast 12, Fast Six, then you continue to work backwards from there and that's what you have left for practice.

I understand why the series did it in the sense they want cars on track on Friday and get the weekend rolling. That's a positive thing. I just think now maybe tomorrow morning we're not going to see as much running. But that's to be determined.

Q. You won on this course before. What do you like or not like?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I love this place. I think it's one of the top five permanent road courses in the world in my book. It's got everything. It's just a joy to drive around here. There's not much else to say. I don't think there's anything I dislike about it.

It's a beautiful part of the world. The people are great. The fans are awesome. The weather is usually pretty good. All A pluses in my book.

Q. They're going to repave in the fall. What are your thoughts on that? Is that going to make it more fun?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah. Hell, yeah. When you look at Watkins, when they repaved that, Barber, it was unlimited grip, lap time. For us as drivers, all we want to do is go faster, right? I wish we could repave it right now and see what it's going to be like. It's going to be really, really cool.

Q. (No microphone.)

ALEXANDER ROSSI: You say that. It's harder to pass here than you think. On paper you think, yeah, it's really easy to pass into five because you have such a long straight, big braking zone. Kind of the same thing for turn 12.

It's quite difficult actually. I think, as always, Firestone tries to bring a tire there's a big separation between the primes and the alternates, or there's a lot of falloff. I think that's kind of the case this weekend. I think that's why you see some of the races we see. Obviously we saw that last weekend.

Honestly everyone is so close and so tight these days, nowhere really is easy to pass.

Q. Why do you think this course is not as easy to pass as we might think?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I don't know. I mean, I think turn three is a quick enough corner. Turn one and three is quick enough that you lose enough time behind them, by the time the draft kicks in, like, it's a pretty late lunge into five. Kind of the same thing into turn 12. You lose a lot of time through the carrousel.

Everything you're losing, it takes kind of the whole straight to come back. I think you certainly have different trim levels here, so guys are going to go into the race and have different downforce levels. So that will aid in kind of the overtaking, how that all shapes up.

By no means is it not a good race, but someone assumes it's an easy pass into turn five, it's not the case.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming up, Alex.

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