Mikhail Aleshin wants to return to IndyCar one day, and “kick some ass”

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LE MANS, France – Considering Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has been in the news a lot lately, it’s worth checking in on one of its previous drivers who is racing this weekend.

Russian rookie Mikhail Aleshin dazzled at times during a mostly solid, occasionally turbulent first year in the Verizon IndyCar Series last year.

But his accident at Auto Club Speedway last August sidelined him for a couple months, and reported financial issues halted progress between SMP Racing, Aleshin’s backer, and SPM, his team, in order for the pair to continue together for a second season.

Aleshin is focused solely on his SMP Racing commitments in the European Le Mans Series this year, and at this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans where the Russian-entered BR01 Nissan makes its second race start in the LMP2 class.

Still, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss IndyCar.

“Oh definitely. I miss racing in IndyCar for sure,” Aleshin told MotorSportsTalk during scrutineering at Le Mans.

It was interesting to check in with him after Texas, a race he finished an impressive seventh in last year and a race where SPM’s 2015 drivers, Ryan Briscoe and James Jakes, ended eighth and ninth.

“I didn’t get to see the race this year. I saw the results. Texas was fun,” he said.

Then his eyes lit up.

“I like ovals. A lot,” he admitted.

Will he be back? It’s not for a lack of desire.

“Definitely. One day I’m gonna come back there for sure. I’m gonna kick some ass.”

Andretti ‘getting closer’ to re-signing Alexander Rossi in IndyCar

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
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TORONTO – Team owner Michael Andretti told NBCSports.com that contract negotiations with both Alexander Rossi and Honda Performance Development are progressing positively with hopes of reaching a conclusion “within the next week or two.”

Andretti spoke to NBCSports.com and to NBCN’s Robin Miller Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

“I think things are getting there,” Andretti said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re close. I can’t comment, but I think things are going in the right direction.

“Honda has been great. They’ve been really good to work with. I’m hoping we can put something together there, too. We’ve been part of Honda for so long. I think we are getting real close there.

“I’m hoping to have this resolved in the next week or two.”

Rossi, who is in the final year of his contract, finished third in the race, one position ahead of championship rival Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

That leaves Rossi just four points behind Newgarden heading into Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway.

Rossi’s agent is his father, Pieter.

NBCSports.com spoke to Pieter Rossi before the race, and he also expressed optimism that a deal will be reached soon for his son as the star driver, 27, enters the prime years of his career.

Andretti had separate meetings with Honda Performance Development officials and with Pieter Rossi in the hours leading up to Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.