Column: Rossi's win a real gas
The top sports stories in another Weekend That Was:
5. Despite getting just one hit, it’s a big one – a Starlin Castro two-run home run – as the New York Yankees win a 2-1 game in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
4. After disastrous Sundays at The Masters and then again at The Byron Nelson Invitational, Jordan Spieth goes off with a 65, including birdies on six of the last nine holes, at The Colonial, his eighth career PGA win.
3. By leading 392 of the 400 laps, Martin Truex Jr. pockets the victory in the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C., his fourth career win in 382 starts, beating Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.
2. With a furious comeback in the final quarter, down 83-75 on the road, the Golden State Warriors, led by Klay Thompson’s 41 points, defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 108-101, in Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals, forcing Monday night’s Game 7 in Oakland.
1. Playing a game of Russian roulette on the track and without much gas in the tank as other drivers fueled up, rookie Alexander Rossi wins the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday at the Brickyard.
Our topic of discussion: 1. One gutsy win.
You should never ever try this in real life – getting as far as you can on a tank of gas before you can practically hear the car begging to be fueled up again. It’s happened to me a couple of times, I’m not proud to say.
On a race track, it could be dangerous. You can be near the end of a race and feel like you have enough in your tank to take that chance. Ultimately, though, the car is going to run out of the energy it needs.
This was the risk that Alexander Rossi, a 24-year-old California guy, was taking. He heard that other racers were getting fueled up for the backstretch, which drivers do with 10 or more laps left in the race. It makes for an exciting backstretch.
Problem was, Rossi was creating his own kind of “excitement” by seeing how much gas he had to make it the rest of the way. With his crew chief begging him to conserve the gas, Rossi managed to do that in the last 90 miles of the race, not bad considering he rarely saw the front of the pack most of the day.
And wouldn’t you know it, less than a mile after the race, the car finally came to a stop ... short on gas. At least he made it through and in doing so, became the first American to win the Indy 500 since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. As a matter of fact, only Rossi, Hornish Jr. and Kenny Rice (2004) are the only American-born Indy 500 winners this century!
Rossi cut his racing teeth like so many who get into IndyCar racing – on the Formula One circuit in Europe. Once he felt ready to come home and race in IndyCar, he did that. And now, he’s a champion of the circuit’s greatest race.
So does this win give Americans hope in the sport and make Rossi the poster child to be the next Hornish or Mario Andretti or A.J. Foyt or Al Unser? Let’s not compare him to those others just yet. Rossi is currently sitting in sixth place in the driver standings and is not even the top-ranked American in the standings (that would be Josef Newgarden in fourth), while the top is occupied by France’s Simon Pagenaud with New Zealand’s Scott Dixon in second.
It takes more than winning the grand lady of racing, the Indy 500, to be a superstar.
But at least Rossi is on his way.
Let’s just hope in future weeks he does a better job with gas management.