Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, NASCAR’s Kurt and Kyle Busch added to Race of Champions

Leave a comment

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, as well as NASCAR racing brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch will be among those taking part in the Race of Champions Nation’s Cup on January 22 and 23 in Miami, it was announced Monday.

The race will be held at Marlins Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins. This will be the first time the race — which brings together racing champions from numerous forms of motorsports including NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One and others — will be held in the United States.

It will also be the first ROC since 2015, when Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel defeated 9-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in London, while F1’s David Coulthard and endurance racer Alex Buncombe finished as semifinalists.

Rossi will head the largest contingent of drivers from any one series, as the Verizon IndyCar Series will also have Ryan Hunter-Reay, Gabby Chaves, Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan also taking part in the ROCNC.

Competitors will race against each other on a specially prepared road course in identically matched vehicles.

“It’s really cool to be included in the 2017 Race of Champions,” Kyle Busch said in a media release. “You look at the list of drivers and their backgrounds and it’s pretty impressive. I love to race anything I can, so I’m really excited to be heading to Miami and getting behind the wheel of some different types of vehicles in order to compete against the best guys in the world.”

Among those entered in the competition and the series they’ll represent are:

IndyCar: 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, 2-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves.

NASCAR: 2004 Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch, 2015 Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.

Formula One: 4-time champion Sebastian Vettel, 11-time F1 race winner Felipe Massa, 2009 F1 champ Jenson Button, 13-time F1 race winner David Coulthard.

Other: 9-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, 2-time FIA World RallyCross champ Petter Solberg, multi-motorsports series champion Travis Pastrana, 2-time Global RallyCross Champ Scott Speed.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Leave a comment

One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added,Β “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s galleryΒ and some teaser shots below.