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  • Alexander Rossi: The tires are kind of

  • at their temperature peak

  • exiting Turn 1 and Turn 3,

  • so when you go into 2 and 4

  • there's much less of a margin for error.

  • What's up guys, I'm Alexander Rossi.

  • IndyCar driver for Andretti Autosport.

  • I drive the number 27 NAPA AutoNation Honda

  • and I won the 2016 Indy 500.

  • Where we're gonna start this video

  • is kind of coming to the green flag.

  • So you roll off on the beginning

  • of what is four kind of pace and parade laps.

  • So the first one, you kinda do a salute to the fans.

  • So the first lap is very slow

  • and you're kinda just waving to the fans.

  • And then the second and third lap you go single file

  • and that's when you get the engine temperature,

  • the tire temperature, the brake temperature

  • all to the levels that you want.

  • And the team's kind of talking you through that.

  • And then your final lap,

  • you form back into the grid formation, eleven rows of three.

  • You know, what you're trying to do is kinda just maintain

  • the speed off the car to your inside

  • because he's really the one setting the pace.

  • And then from that point, you're just waiting

  • until the row in front of you accelerates,

  • and you try and go with them.

  • You know, you want to be able get a jump

  • on the cars around you,

  • but ultimately, it's a 500 mile race

  • and there's so much that's gonna happen

  • throughout the next kinda three and a half hours

  • that the last thing you want to do is

  • throw it all away into Turn 1.

  • As we're going into Turn 1, this is the first time

  • that you're actually seeing the grandstands full

  • and because of that, it looks a lot narrower

  • than it's looked for all the previous two weeks

  • that you've been practicing

  • because the light's not coming in,

  • there's different kind of shadows and reflections

  • that you see. So it's actually kind of intimidating

  • the first time that you go through there

  • 'cause you're like, "Oh, is it different?"

  • Obviously it's not.

  • But it takes your mind kinda three or four laps

  • to actually adjust to the visual sensation.

  • So going into Turn 1,

  • there's cars that are taking a bigger risk

  • than other cars, for sure.

  • Going two wide or three wide through Turn 1,

  • you can only do on starts and restarts.

  • And the reason for that is

  • 'cause you're accelerating from such a slower speed

  • out of Turn 4, that by the time you get to Turn 1,

  • you're only doing 180, 190 mph.

  • While that's still fast,

  • it's a lot different than approaching Turn 1 at 240 mph.

  • So your margin for being able to explore different lines

  • really exists only on starts and restarts,

  • and then from there you kind of see it

  • fall into more single file type racing.

  • As much as geometrically, Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4 are identical,

  • they're all very different.

  • You're using the short chutes to really change the balance

  • based on how it was through Turn 1 that lap.

  • The normal kind of balance is you have a bit of understeer

  • exit of 1 and understeer into 2.

  • Between the short chute of 1 and 2,

  • you are usually stiffening your rear bar,

  • your rear anti-roll bar,

  • softening your front anti-roll bar,

  • or putting left front weight.

  • So you can change the cross weight of the car.

  • So you can move up to 150 pounds

  • from the left front tire to the right front tire,

  • which changes the balance obviously quite a bit.

  • So in terms of the easiest places to crash,

  • I mean it's really different for each driver.

  • It's usually Turns 2 or 4.

  • Announcer: While exiting Turn 2,

  • Montoya's Verizon Chevrolet loses control

  • and slaps the outside wall.

  • Alexander Rossi: The tires are kind of

  • at their temperature peak exiting Turn 1 and Turn 3,

  • so when you go into 2 and 4,

  • there's much less of a margin for error.

  • Whereas when you're entering 1 and 3,

  • they have the entire straightaway to cool down

  • and kind of recenter themselves.

  • Whereas the short chutes between 1 and 2, and 3 and 4,

  • don't allow the tires really to cool down enough

  • so you have to be super precise with what you do

  • or the penalty is kinda just exponentially bigger.

  • These cars are so aerodynamically dependent,

  • and they're made to be run by themselves.

  • So what that means is when the wings

  • and the floor of the car are developed,

  • they're made in a space where the air coming at it is clean,

  • meaning it's unobstructed

  • and the car's going through it

  • as if it was brand new virgin air.

  • Well, when you're behind cars

  • that are going through that air,

  • they're actually dirtying up the air

  • and it's coming at the car

  • in a much more disconnected fashion

  • so it actually reduces the performance of your car.

  • Where this comes back to your advantage is in the straights.

  • So because they're having to basically

  • punch a hole through clean air,

  • that means that you don't have to do that anymore,

  • so that's where the draft and slipstream comes into play.

  • So the main goal of winning Indianapolis is:

  • How do you find a car balance that you can stay close enough

  • behind the car in front of you to not lose a draft,

  • but then still fast enough in a straight line

  • to be able to pass them.

  • Because you can obviously put downforce on,

  • raise the rear wing angle,

  • and really glue your car to the ground

  • and be able to corner really well

  • and follow someone super close.

  • But then when you're in a straight

  • and you try to slipstream past them

  • you don't have enough straight line speed

  • to be able to do that.

  • So it's all about finding that kind of balance

  • between "this is the least amount of grip

  • I can get away with, while still being able to pass cars."

  • So going into Turn 3, you can see the sparks

  • from the car in front.

  • One thing to keep in mind in a race like this is

  • that because it's so long, you know,

  • the tire pressures are pretty low at the start of the stint.

  • So what you have is the car bottom

  • actually touches the ground and we call that bottoming.

  • And so when that happens,

  • there's less of a tire on the ground which is fine,

  • but you have to be prepared for it

  • because the car can actually move a little bit,

  • and it's hitting the deck

  • so it's not as composed as it would be.

  • And then going into Turn 4, so as you're completing the lap,

  • this is the first time you're able

  • to actually get a balance check of what the car's doing.

  • So that first lap, you're kind of really seeing,

  • "Did I make the right call?

  • Is everything kind of as I expected it to be?"

  • And even if, you know,

  • the first balance check that you do

  • isn't quite what you were hoping for or expecting,

  • there's enough pit stops and enough time

  • throughout the race where you can tune on the car,

  • and adjust tire pressures and wing angles,

  • that theoretically if you play your cards right,

  • by the end of the race you can dial in the car

  • to be what you need it to be to win.

  • So as you start Lap 2, you know, it's at this point

  • where you kind of have an idea of what the car is doing,

  • and you start to analyze people's strengths and weaknesses,

  • and start trying to understand your areas of attack

  • as the day goes on.

  • And quite honestly that changes every 5 to 10 laps,

  • as your fuel load decreases, your car balance changes,

  • and the temperatures are always fluctuating.

  • Two to three degrees of track temperature

  • can make a big difference on the balance of your car.

  • And it's the guy that's able to stay on top of it the most

  • and make the best calls

  • and obviously have a good car underneath him

  • that's ultimately able to win the Indianapolis 500.

  • The 2016 Indy 500 was my first 500.

  • It was my second race ever on an oval.

  • Throughout the race, we were having

  • a lot of problems refueling the car.

  • Every time I came into the pits,

  • I'd fall back, I'd lose positions

  • because we were taking long to put fuel in the car.

  • My strategist and team owner, Bryan Herta,

  • came up with a strategy, it was kind of like a high risk,

  • just roll the dice, "why not,"

  • we're gonna try and do one less pit stop

  • than everyone else and save fuel.

  • So we're gonna try and just eliminate stopping

  • one final time and stretch our fuel to make it to the end.

  • We always knew that we were gonna run out of fuel

  • on the final lap, it was just gonna be a matter of

  • when did we run out and would we have enough of a lead

  • to be able to basically coast across the finish line.

  • So we had enough fuel to get us all the way out of 2,

  • through Turn 3, and as we were in the short chute

  • between 3 and 4, we ran out of gas.

  • So I just pulled the clutch in

  • and just waited and literally just free-wheeled

  • all the way from the middle of Turn 4, to the finish line.

  • We started the lap with a 24 second lead

  • and won by 3.8 seconds.

  • Certainly a very strange way to win that race.

Alexander Rossi: The tires are kind of

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