Alexander Rossi has expressed his relief to win with Andretti Autosport before departing the team at the end of the year.
Victory in the IndyCar Series Gallagher Grand Prix at the road course-configured Indianapolis Motor Speedway ended a 1134-day dry spell for the American.
His last win came on June 23, 2019 in the Grand Prix of Road America.
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Rossi will depart Andretti Autosport following this year’s IndyCar Series season to join an expanded three-car McLaren SP outfit.
It will be only the second team Rossi has driven for in the series, having joined the Andretti Autosport stable in 2016.
“It would have been a pretty sad story if we weren’t able to,” Rossi said of finishing with a win.
“That’s not the goal, right, because I’m not really thinking about ’23. Like you’re thinking about just what you can still accomplish in 2022.
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“But yes, I’m happy that we don’t have to have that conversation of like, ‘oh, well, it’s been cool, too bad we couldn’t win in three, four – whatever’.
“I’m glad we don’t have to have that conversation. I’ve had the majority of the same group of guys, probably 70 percent of the same group of guys since 2017.
“As I said before, it’s been hard for them as well, so it’s great to do it as a unit and as a group on the 27 car, to kind of get this behind us, and hopefully we can have a pretty strong run to the end of the year.”
Rossi admitted it’s “great to start the clock over” and repay the efforts of his team, who have largely gone unrewarded.
“It’s been hard for all of us,” Rossi explained.
“It’s been hard for Michael (Andretti, team owner). It’s been hard for Rob (Edwards, engineer), the sponsors. When we started this kind of three-year journey in ’19, this wasn’t the expectation for the past two and a half years. So that’s been hard on everyone.
“I think that it’s a nice reward for everyone. No one ever quit. No one ever stopped. ‘Oh, Alex is leaving, so who cares anymore’. That was never a thing.
“I’m so appreciative to Michael and all the engineering staff for continuing to push to give me the best possible equipment, because I’ve been in situations in the past where that’s not necessarily been the case.
“I think that that is a testament to them as people and as a race team, and we couldn’t be here without them, so it’s a huge win for myself but definitely for all the 27 guys, as well.”
Rossi nearly won the title in 2018, finishing runner-up to Scott Dixon in a thrilling close to the season.
Reflecting on his time at the team, the 30-year-old said his Indianapolis 500 win on debut stands clear as his favourite memory.
Rossi also noted the friendships he built with former teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti.
“I was so lucky for so many years to drive with Ryan and Marco, and they became such good friends of mine and people that I rely on in my personal and professional life, both those guys,” said Rossi.
“I think those relationships, the relationship with Michael and Rob Edwards and my engineer Jeremy (Milless), those are things I’ll have with me for the rest of my life, which is very special. I’m grateful to them for the opportunity.”
Four races remain in the 2022 season that could see Rossi add to his eight wins with Andretti Autosport.
The season resumes with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on August 8.
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