Indianapolis 500 notes: Rossi toasts Manhattan

Updated: 

Alexander Rossi was the toast of New York City on Tuesday – literally.

The reigning champion of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil visited the Big Apple, stopping at multiple media outlets to promote the 101st running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” coming up in May.

The driver of the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian made stops that included the NFL Network, USA Today, CNN World Sport and a guest spot on Harry Connick Jr.’s syndicated talk show, “Harry.”

Along the way, Rossi presented ceremonial milk bottles emblazoned with the 101st Indianapolis 500 logo and shared drinks of milk with his hosts – much as he did after winning the historic 100th running of the great race last year.

On the NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Rossi explained how a Californian who grew up idolizing the San Francisco 49ers became a New England Patriots fan – Patriots games were about the only NFL games he could see while racing in Europe – and how a “junior pee wee football” player became a world-class race car driver.

“When I was 10, my dad took me to Las Vegas – which every 10-year-old wants to go – and he took me to a three-day go-kart school,” Rossi explained. “It was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I just fell in love with it and started going racing.”

(Watch Rossi talk about winning the Indy 500 and becoming a Pats fan here, how he became a racer here and the 2016 race-winning strategy and how he still wants wants to meet Lady Gaga here.)

Rossi participated in a USA Today Facebook Live chat and did some “racing” as a guest on “Harry.” The episode is slated to air nationally on March 16.

“I thought it was a great day,” Rossi said after the NYC experience. “Spending time with the GMFB team was awesome because I watch it almost every day, so it was fun to talk football and racing with them.

“The track that the crew at ‘Harry’ built was amazing and it was an honor to meet such an icon in the entertainment world.  He was a lot of fun to race with and you'll have to tune in on March 16 to get the whole scoop. Overall, we had a great day. We made some new friends and visited some old ones and ideally made a lot more INDYCAR fans.”

Iconic events team for Kentucky Derby Museum town hall

The common bonds between 3-year-old thoroughbred horses and jockeys of the Kentucky Derby and the open-wheel race cars and drivers of the Indianapolis 500 were shared and celebrated during a Town Hall meeting for fans of both great sporting events Monday at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles talked about the upcoming 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and answered questions from fans on hand.

The Town Hall was the marquee event of a variety of promotions uniting two of the most iconic global sporting events that bookend the month of May. The 143rd Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 6 at Churchill Downs, while the Indianapolis 500 will run May 28 at IMS.

“Incredible,” Castroneves said. “One hundred and 43 years of history. The only place I knew that was that old was Indianapolis (IMS). I’m really pleased and honored to be here today and to learn about the other kind of horsepower.”

During the town hall, Castroneves and Boles presented a commemorative milk bottle to museum president Patrick Armstrong as part of the campaign to deliver 101 Indianapolis 500 milk bottles, one per day, through race day for the 101st edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Like all jockeys and trainers aim to win at Churchill Downs in May, Castroneves also is focused on a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory on Memorial Day weekend at IMS.

“Our goal is always looking at Indianapolis,” Castroneves said. “Our eyes (were) starting to look at it as the race finished last year. Team Penske has been working constantly to make sure we have the best equipment, and I know we will have that. Hopefully we’ll be in victory circle like before.”

Steve Miller Band headlines Miller Lite Carb Day concert

The legendary Steve Miller Band will headline the Miller Lite Carb Day concert May 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Miller will shift race weekend for the Indianapolis 500 into high gear with hit songs that defined a generation of American music. IMS officials made the announcement today.

Grammy-nominated Canadian rock icons Barenaked Ladies will open the concert, which is free with a general admission ticket to Miller Lite Carb Day. Tickets are available by clicking here.

General admission tickets are $30. Fans wanting the closest access to the stage can purchase a $20 upgrade to the Miller Lite Concert Pit. Prices will increase soon, so fans are encouraged to buy now and save. VIP viewing options and packages will be announced later. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

“Steve Miller Band and Barenaked Ladies are renowned for their hit songs and high-energy live shows, so this is a tremendous concert lineup for our fans on Miller Lite Carb Day,” said Doug Boles, IMS president. “These performances will be a rocking finale to such an exciting day of racing, music and fun at IMS, setting the stage for another fantastic Indianapolis 500 race weekend.”

Miller formed the Steve Miller Band in 1966. The band has recorded instantly recognizable hits including “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Jungle Love.” Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Barenaked Ladies, formed in Toronto in 1988, has sold more than 14 million albums, has two Grammy nominations and such smash hits as “One Week,” “The Old Apartment” and “If I Had $1,000,000.”

Performances by the Steve Miller Band and Barenaked Ladies will cap an incredible day of excitement and action on Miller Lite Carb Day. The Indy 500 field will have one hour of final practice to prepare for the race, from 11 a.m.-noon ET. The Freedom 100 race for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires starts at 12:30 p.m., followed by the annual TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge at 2 p.m. The Miller Lite Carb Day concert begins following the pit stop contest.

From the fans