Rossi relies on teammates’ feedback to score third on the grid at Monterey

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MONTEREY, Calif. – It was during two practice sessions Friday at WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca that everyone seemingly was concerned about Alexander Rossi’s slow speeds on the race course.

While others appeared to lose their cool, Rossi was able to keep his composure. He worked skillfully with race strategist and Andretti Autosport Chief Operating Officer Rob Edwards and engineer Jeremy Milless to find a solution.

They found it by working with the other three drivers at Andretti Autosport and the team’s satellite operation at Harding Steinbrenner Racing with Colton Herta.

Rossi was able to advance through every session of qualifications and rank third in the Firestone Fast Six with a lap at 1:10.2105 around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca. He starts alongside Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who qualified fourth at 1:10.6719 (114.003 mph) in a Chevrolet.

Newgarden leads Rossi by 41 points heading into the double-points Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

Watch Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on NBC Sunday at 3 p.m.

Herta won his third pole of the season at 1:10.1405 for a speed of 114.867 miles per hour in the No. 88 Capstone Honda.

For Rossi, his calm under Friday’s duress paid off with a fast effort in Saturday’s qualifications.

With three teammates plus Herta, Rossi’s crew was able to add a little of this and that to the setup, and the end result was a fast car in qualifications.

“Well, you always don’t plan on being last in qualifying,” Rossi told NBCSports.com when asked after the difference between Friday and Saturday. “It’s a new track, so we have the opportunity with such a big team to dedicate cars to roll through tons of different just setup philosophies. As long as you have a couple cars that are on a consistent platform that you know you can go back to and feed off of, I think it makes you more comfortable to do that.

“We made sure we went through everything that we could theoretically come up with that might work, and then, yeah, put it all together. Hopefully we were hoping we could put it all together this afternoon.”

Rossi said the team worked through various setups and philosophies before determining the setup used when it mattered on Saturday.

“We all work together every session,” Rossi said. “You have to when you have that many cars out on track. Everyone is doing a corner a little bit better or different than you, and you’ve got to put the puzzle pieces together.

“You definitely feed off each other for sure.”

There was a backup plan, just in case none of those changes worked.

“My engineer in his setup sheet has something with a drop-down item that says ‘Punt,’ so we punted a lot,” Rossi said with his typically dry wit. “That’s what we were doing.”

Simon Pagenaud, the driver from France who won the 103rdIndianapolis 500, looked quizzically at Rossi because he didn’t understand the term, “punt.”

“Like it’s fourth down and you need to give the ball away, and you just kind of,” Rossi began before saying, “You’re French, so…”

While that repartee drew a good laugh, one thing that is obvious is the top four drivers fighting it out for the championship are the four very best drivers in the series this season. They are ones that have won the most races and the biggest races of the season.

“Well, none of us got pole, so we clearly aren’t that good,” Rossi deadpanned.

Steve McQueen’s famous Porsche 917K displayed in new museum

Photo courtesy of the Brumos Collection
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One of the most famous race cars in film history will be featured in a new automotive museum in Florida.

The legendary Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’, which was last seen in 2017 when it sold for $14 million in an auction, will be one of the prominent pieces in the Brumos Collection, a new automotive museum in Jacksonville.

Widely considered the most famous Porsche 917 ever built, the historic race car initially was used for Le Mans testing before being featured in the McQueen film. The car was housed in a barn for more than two decades before re-emerging fully restored in 2001.

The car was unveiled as the newest member of the Brumos Collection during a special event signifying the museum’s grand opening on Monday.

With more than three dozen vehicles, the Brumos Collection provides museum guests an up-front look at racing and automotive history.

Notable race cars in the collection include:

  • 1968 Porsche 908: In the second track appearance ever for Porsche’s then-new 908, drivers Jo Siffert and Vic Elford tackled the notorious Nürburgring’s 1000 km in this yet-unproven model. Starting in the 27th position, Siffert guided the 908 to second at the end of the first lap and into the overall lead after the second lap, setting a lap record. This historic 908 persevered through a grueling 44 laps around Nürburgring’s 14-mile course, skillfully navigating a 1000-foot elevation change and 160 turns through the forest.
  • 1979 Porsche 935: This #59 Brumos Porsche 935 is shown exactly as it raced when it won the 1979 IMSA Championship with Peter Gregg behind the wheel. It is authentic in every detail, down to his distinctive tartan seat upholstery. Arguably the finest season of his career, Gregg won eight races and eight consecutive pole positions in 1979. The car won 53 percent of the races it entered, carrying Gregg to 20 percent of his total career IMSA victories.
  • 1972 Porsche 917-10: The first 917/10 was produced in 1971. This Can-Am Racer had a twin-turbocharged engine capable of 200+mph speeds at 1100 hp. Peter Gregg raced the car to a 9th place finish in the 1972 Can-Am Championship, followed by Hurley Haywood’s 3rd place finish in the 1973 Can-Am Series season. The Brumos Porsche 917-10 was the first race car to carry what has now become the iconic and recognizable white, red and blue livery with the famous Brumos Racing “sweeps.”
  • 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix: Miller was the first American race car bought solely to race in Europe. This 1923 Miller 122 Grand Prix was driven by Bugatti racer Count Louis Zborowski, who raced it in England, Spain and France. Returned to the United State 89 years later, this is considered one of the most complete surviving Millers.

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