Alexander Rossi will return behind the wheel of an Andretti Autosport Honda in 2018, following announcement today of a multiyear agreement among the driver, team and sponsor NAPA Auto Parts.
The deal will see NAPA sponsor Rossi in 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races. The 25-year-old Californian joined the team as a series rookie in 2016, after spending nearly a decade racing in Europe – including finishing second in the GP2 series championship while also driving in five Formula 1 races.
Rossi burst to stardom when he won the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May 2016. He is seventh in the 2017 series standings with a season-best finish of second at the Honda Indy Toronto and will make his 32nd career start in Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen.
Rossi is also happy to put rumors of him changing teams next season behind him.
“As always, this silly season is a challenging one for everyone involved, but I am very thankful to have such incredible support from Andretti Autosport, NAPA Auto Parts and Honda, and to extend our deal,” said Rossi. “The improvements that we have made this year and the relationships that I have built within the team over the past two seasons created the foundation for a very exciting future.
“On top of this, I’m very excited about the future of INDYCAR and where the whole series is headed. With the new (universal aero kit) car for next year, it is bound to be even more competitive and exciting than in years past, and this is something that I am very proud to be a part of. It is an honor to race alongside such talented drivers and teams and I feel truly blessed in having the opportunity to showcase what I am capable of.”
Rossi becomes the third driver confirmed to Andretti Autosport for 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series competition, joining fellow Americans and current teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti.
“It’s great to have NAPA Auto Parts return in support of Alexander and the team. NAPA has been a fantastic partner and we look forward to building on the success of the relationship,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “Alexander has been a great ambassador both on and off the track and, with only two years of INDYCAR experience, he’s proven that he is a true competitor as well.”
NAPA joined the team as a sponsor just before Rossi’s shocking Indy 500 victory, when he nursed his No. 98 Honda for the final 36 laps on a single tank of ethanol fuel. Gaylord Spencer, NAPA’s senior vice president of marketing, said the group is pleased to continue the relationship.
“As you know, this partnership began in May 2016 taking the NAPA colors into the winner’s circle at the 100th Running of the Indy 500. What an incredible experience,” Spencer said. “Moving into 2017, the partnership expanded and is now continuing to grow. We’re excited to continue this relationship with Alexander, the Andretti organization and the INDYCAR fan base.”
Practice for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen begins at 10:15 a.m. ET today and will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Qualifying is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday (live stream on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and same-day telecast at 7 p.m. on NBCSN).
Sunday’s 60-lap race on the iconic Watkins Glen International permanent road course kicks off with live coverage at 1 p.m. on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.