Rossi confirmed for Andretti Autosport extension

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The mystery of where Alexander Rossi will drive in 2017 has been answered, with the 24-year-old American and 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil champion confirmed to continue with Andretti-Herta Autosport into the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Rossi was confirmed Monday by the Andretti Autosport team as that team’s third driver for next season alongside with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, both of whom are locked in multi-year contracts. No length of contract was announced and the team continues to seek a fourth car for next year.

“What an incredible eight months this has been,” Rossi said in a release, “from getting the opportunity to join the Verizon IndyCar Series in February, to winning the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and now re-signing with Andretti Autosport.

“I am incredibly proud and grateful to be able to have the opportunity to work with a team of this caliber as we chase after more race wins and continue to make our mark in this amazing championship. I want to thank Michael [Andretti], JF [Thormann], Bryan [Herta] and Honda for the faith and trust they have in me to put the Andretti name at the front. We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are already completely focused on being back at the sharp end of the grid where we belong.”

“Alexander showed tremendous growth this year and we are excited to welcome him back to the team,” team owner Michael Andretti added. “In his first IndyCar season, Alexander was able to form trusting relationships with the team’s engineers, mechanics and his teammates and that itself is a great foundation to begin 2017. We also know he is competitive and can win races.

“Continuity plays a big role in the success of our programs and being able to confirm that Alexander is remaining with the team is incredible. His extension, along with Ryan [Hunter-Reay] and Marco’s [Andretti] continuance is a promising factor for not only the team, but the series as well.”

The confirmation of Rossi in the Andretti-Herta entry ends speculation Marco Andretti could be moved there.

“Knowing that Alexander will be returning to the No. 98 Andretti-Herta Autosport car provides us with the stability and continuity we need to strive for even higher results,” said co-owner of the No. 98 entry, Bryan Herta. “Last season showed great progress, and I could not be more excited about our prospects moving forward. Last season we were late in the game putting our deal together. This winter we are focused on the season ahead, the continuation of our successful partnership with Andretti Autosport, and seeing Alexander become a consistent winner in the Verizon IndyCar series.”

Commercial partners were not announced but of note, Tip Tollison, President of NAPA Balkamp in Indianapolis, was on site at the season finale weekend in Sonoma. The Indianapolis branch of NAPA Auto Parts stepped up at the last minute as primary sponsor for Rossi’s No. 98 Andretti-Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda entry at Indianapolis this year.

Additionally, the version of that car – adorned in full NAPA signage – was staged at Honda’s paddock display at Sonoma Raceway.

Rossi scored that shock, but famous, victory as a rookie in Indianapolis this year – which highlighted his name on the world stage to go along with what he worked up to as a rookie in Formula 1 for the five Grands Prix he raced with Manor this year.

Rossi’s future was a talking point over the summer months, with the Californian making it clear to take it on a weekend-by-weekend focus while not losing sight of his overall goals, growth and development within the championship. He’s certainly appreciated and embraced the level of competition he’s seen within the Verizon IndyCar Series this year.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.