Alexander Rossi reveals how he learned Conor Daly was his prankster

Alexander Rossi IndyCar prank
Kristin Enzor/USA TODAY Sports Images

Alexander Rossi revealed exactly how he learned Conor Daly was the mastermind behind the IndyCar prank that dismantled his golf cart last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But the even better story might be the amazing lengths that Rossi went to try to sneak into Daly’s motorhome for revenge on his former “The Amazing Race” teammate.

“What I did to try to get his bus keys is something I’ll forever be proud of,” Rossi said as he recounted the zany ordeal during the newest episode Thursday of the “Off Track” podcast he co-hosts with James Hinchcliffe, whom he initially suspected was the perpetrator.

INDYCAR AT GATEWAY: Schedule for the doubleheader race weekend

It started with Rossi being texted a photo of the prank after arriving at the gym last Wednesday morning. Among the first people he saw was Hinchcliffe.

“I’m standing in the gym, minding my own business, and Alex walks up in right behind me, gets really close into my ear and just goes “You’re (expletive) dead,” said Hinchcliffe, who needed “the better part of an hour” to clear his name. His innocence sufficiently was proved after allowing Rossi to look at various text conversations with Andretti Autosport employees.

“He was like an angry girlfriend,” Hinchcliffe said with a laugh. “‘Show me your phone!'”

Rossi still suspected it was another Andretti teammate, and his suspicions were confirmed when he was in Andretti’s engineering office later in the day with Colton Herta, whom he believed was a co-conspirator after gleaning more information from team members.

“I knew Colton was involved in some capacity,” Rossi said. “Colton and I were talking about how we were going to get Conor back, so Colton was playing both sides. He was obviously involved, but he also thought it would be funny to help me get retaliation on Conor.”

Herta’s phone rang. It was Daly, whom he put on speakerphone without sharing that Rossi was in the room.

“Conor’s like, ‘Dude, how he’d find out? He knows it was us?’” Rossi said, recounting the conversation that ended with Daly saying that he was leaving the track and locking his bus because he feared retaliation.

The 2016 Indy 500 winner did his best to deliver. Rossi learned Daly would be on a date that night but didn’t know the woman or have her number. They talked after he reached her via an Instagram direct message, but she was unable to find Daly’s keys.

So Rossi went to the restaurant where Daly and his date had dinner and received permission from the parking valet (who was a friend) to search Daly’s Tahoe — fruitlessly — for the keys.

Rossi later learned the keys were in Daly’s right front pocket.

“The moral of the story was I couldn’t get the bus keys,” Rossi said. “I did everything I possibly could and couldn’t make it work.”

He then tried to get Daly’s golf cart, but it mysteriously disappeared over the last three days that the NTT IndyCar Series was at the Brickyard in August. A last-ditch attempt to attach an air horn to Daly’s persona vehicle also didn’t work.

“It was very anticlimactic,” Rossi said. “I was getting to the point where I had farm animals and livestock involved. There were a lot of things that were going to happen to Conor that didn’t happen. However, (it’s) 257 days away from the 105h running of the Indy 500. So you don’t have to wait that long.”

For his part, Daly posted a plea to tell his side as well as a rather incriminating photo Thursday afternoon that suggested Herta also is deserving of some retribution.

Herta naturally had a non-denial denial in response, but Daly’s willingness to sell him out as apparent accomplice might have earned him some dispensation.

You can listen to the Off Track podcast by clicking on the embed below (the tales of the prank are roughly the first half of the episode, followed by a summary of Sunday’s Indy 500) or downloading the episode wherever you get podcasts.


Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night / DB3 Inc.

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.

Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)