Indy 500 winner Rossi gets, gives thrills in Indy car, airplane ride swap


In advance of the inaugural Red Bull Air Race, coming Oct. 1-2 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil champion Alexander Rossi joined Master Class pilot and two-time world champion Kirby Chambliss for a first-of-its-kind video stunt shoot at IMS.

Chambliss and Rossi piloted their respective racecrafts in unison around the world’s most famous racetrack, creating a must-see video for airplane and race car fans alike, as well as adrenaline junkies. To watch the video, click here. To access behind-the-scenes photos, click here.

“I didn’t think anything of it until I was on track and there was a plane next to me,” said Rossi, driver of the No. 98 Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian. “It was a little bit trippy – when else are you going to be able to be driving an Indy car around the speedway with a plane upside down next to you?”

Alexander RossiThe two motorsport athletes also switched roles, with Chambliss riding shotgun to Rossi in an INDYCAR Experience two-seat Indy car and Rossi taking to the skies as Chambliss’ guest in a two-seat plane. Rossi experienced a strong dose of the nearly 10 Gs that air race pilots regularly confront during competitions. Chambliss also executed several dynamic aerial stunts with Rossi in the plane.  

“The fact that I got in the plane makes me question my own sanity,” Rossi said.

The Red Bull Air Race will feature the world’s best pilots negotiating a course over the IMS infield and Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at speeds exceeding 230 mph – close to the speeds that the Verizon IndyCar Series cars reach on the 2.5-mile oval's straightaways.

“People always say, ‘You’re crazy,’” Chambliss said. “I take it as a compliment.”

“You don’t see a plane and an Indy car racing down the backstretch every day,” said IMS President Doug Boles. “These guys are real pros there’s no doubt about that. I think our fans are going to be even more excited for the air race after watching this.”

Purchase tickets for the Red Bull Air Race at

Rossi and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers return to action for the 2016 season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, on Rossi’s home track at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway on Sept. 18. NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network will have coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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