Rossi Making Smooth Transition to New Team

Alexander Rossi is happy with his move to Arrow McLaren for 2023. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 spent his first seven Indycar seasons with Andretti Autosport before signing with Arrow McLaren in early June last year. This morning Rossi said there is still a learning curve not only for him, but also for all the new personnel McLaren is bringing in. He thinks he will get a better idea of the differences between his old and new team after the race,.

“It’s hard to say immediately because we’ve got a race weekend.” Rossi said. “You know, there’s just a lot of obvious structure that exists in an organization from top to bottom. And I’m sure a lot of it comes from, you know, the overarching brand, getting out and about doing things and running race teams. You know, like, there’s pros and cons that are two ways you go about it, you can run them and be like, Oh, I kind of want to vice versa. So there are some some differences that can ultimately be successful if you have anything else. It’s been nice to see areas that they are different in various matters.”

Rossi explained that hisn transition was a little more challengin vecause McLaren hired 40 new people during the off season to accomodate the third car.

” Because we had so many new people in general, like everyone just kind of going through a process. It is challenging in terms of the actual application, being easy to get to work doing what we need to in our condensed timeframe.”

Rossi’s biggest concern this weekend? Driving into the pit of his former team.”This weekend my pit box is right in front of my old 27, so I’m just like please do not drive into that one. So that’s my only concern. It’s pretty easy now to think that you know, the seven car driver tweeted at me like I had to read it a couple of times because I was like, Am I allowed to say this? I mean, it’s been everyone’s been super welcoming.”

Rossi said it was sad to leave his old team after seven tears.

“But you know, I still I’m still very close with Jeremy and Scott and obviously, I’m still in communication with them. So I don’t feel like a whole life changing. ”

Rossi is ot changing his driving approiach with his new team.

“I’m just going out and execute,” he said.

The difference between the Chevroley and Honda engines surprised him.

“I was surprised that engines with basically the same architecture could be that different. They are very different in the way they make power and deliver it. It took some gettinmg used to,” he said.

Alexander Rossi left a formerly elite team that has struggled recently to join a team that is on the verge of joining the top of the grid. I look for have some struggles early, but by Road America Rossi should return to his championship form.

Kanaan: ‘I Had a Great Career’

Tony Kanaan admits that if he hadn’t finished third in the 2022 Indianapolis 500, he probably wouldn’t be talking about his final race coming up in May. Kanaan announced yesterday that the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 would be his final IndyCar race. The Brazilian driver has driven in Indycar/Champ Car since 1998.

How does a driver know it’s time to step aside?

“You don’t,” Kanaan said. “You’re never ready for this.
But you got to weigh your options. I went from a full-time
to a part-time. You’re 48. You had a great career. As
much as you don’t want to go, it’s there. If you’re smart,
you make the right decisions at the right time.”

Kanaan in the 500 has a win in 2013, a pole, nine top five finishes and 12 top 10s. In 2011 he started 33rd and passed 10 cars by the time the field reached the backstretch at the start. Only a caution flag prevented him from picking off a couple more cars. He led in each of his first seven 500s.

Kanaan after his popular win in 2013

He has 17 wins in Indycar racing14 poles, and 79 podiums. In winning the championship in 2004, Kanaan completed every lap of the season.

Kanaan and his Arrow McLaren team also announced a sponsor, SmartStop, a storage company, and the car number for Kanaan’s last ride, 66. The number has significance for the team and driver. His 318 consecutive starts is still the record.

“No. 66. Bruce McLaren and McLaren won their first race in 1966 Mark Donohue was here in ’72. My first go-kart number was No. 6. I picked that. My entire go-kart career,
I won five championships with that number. One of the races that I couldn’t race the 6, I raced 66. When Zak told me the story, the number, it’s just perfect.
That’s what we’re banking on,” Kanaan explained.

Kanaan has never been one to hide his feelings. Asked about how emotional Race Day will be, he said, “End of May, I think it’s going to get more difficult from now
on. I’m at peace in my decision. I have a great team
behind me. I think I had a great career. I have a really
good shot of winning this thing. If I win, might be sitting
here again next year. You never know.”

How will he fill his time after May?

“I’m probably going to come and bug Mark Miles and his team and Jay Frye here. I live five, ten minutes from here. Anything I can do? Can I warm the Corvette up? The Corvette needs a ride. Hey, Doug…”

Would he consider team ownership? It doesn’t sound likely.

“I actually own an eSports team that gives
me the feeling I don’t know if I really want to own a real
team ever. You never know. I mean, I love racing. I love challenges.
If the opportunity presents, 100%. I know for a fact my wife
will not let me spend any of my money, our money – her money, sorry – in a race team. But if the opportunity presents, I’ll consider. Anything that is involved in racing and INDYCAR, I’ll be willing to consider, for sure.”

Rossi and Rosenqvist Liveries Mirror Each Other

Arrow Mclaren has revealed liveries for cars number six and seven. You need to look closely to tell them apart.

Alexander Rossi’s number 7 has light blue trim while thesix car that Felix Rosenqvist will drive has a darker shade of blue. The cars both retain the papaya orange as the contrasting color.

Both cars are shown with the cr number in blue. The team may change the number decal back to black for visibility. I’m not sur how the blue will show up in bright sunlight. I really like the blue numbers.

Rossi’s car has more a Gulf livery feel to it. Gulf is one of my favorite liveries in the history of racing.

Alexander Rossi’s car has the traditional McLaren look..
Felix Rosenqvist has the darker NTT shade of blue. The blue crown on the aeroscreen will help fans tell the two cars apart.

I assume Pato O’Ward’s car, the number five, will be revealed tomorrow. I hope it has a different look than these two..

I will be En route to Daytona for the Rolex 24 tomorrow. I will have reports when I can get to a WiFi spot, or from my phone.

Kyle Larson Enters 2024 500 with McLaren

When you sit down to write a news story and a bigger one pops up- that’s what just happened. The driver fans have clamored for will finallyt get his shot at the Indianapolis 5009. I will have more to sya on this later, but for now here is the press release from Arrow McLaren.


Partnership between McLaren and Rick Hendrick to field the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion

Champion driver Kyle Larson will join McLaren Racing for the 2024 Indianapolis 500, adding to Arrow McLaren’s star-studded lineup for the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  

Kyle’s Chevrolet will be co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick and carry title partnership from Rick is the chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group and the owner of 14-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, which Kyle has driven for since 2021.  

Additional details, including car number and livery for the Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, will be announced at a later date.  

Kyle, 30, has proven success at the elite NASCAR Cup Series level where he won the 2021 series title, 19 points-paying races, the 2019 and 2021 NASCAR All-Star Race, and the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. In his 2021 championship campaign, the Elk Grove, California, native won 10 points races and led more laps in a single season (2,581) than any driver since 1995.  

In partnership with McLaren Racing, the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will mark the first event as an NTT INDYCAR SERIES owner for Rick, whose stock-car teams have won an all-time record 291 points-paying Cup Series races. He is also NASCAR’s winningest owner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 10 Cup victories on the storied 2.5-mile oval.  

Entering his 12th season in the NASCAR Cup Series and third with Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Kyle has consistently expressed interest to race the Indy 500 with Team Chevy. Arrow McLaren, with an opening in its 2024 lineup, seeks to have him at the front of the grid.  

Pending additional 2023 entries, Kyle would become just the fifth driver to run “The Double” on Memorial Day weekend by racing in the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. His double would be the first since Kurt Busch raced in both events in 2014.  

Widely regarded as a world-class talent, Kyle has a broad resume of auto racing success with more than 400 career wins in a variety of disciplines and types of vehicles on dirt and pavement. His versatility and experience complements McLaren Racing’s investment, strategy and competition in different racing series.   

Kyle joins a list of other notable names to run for Arrow McLaren in the Indy 500, including two-time race winner Juan Pablo Montoya, two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso and 2013 race winner Tony Kanaan, who joins the team of Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi (2016 winner) for the Indy 500 for the 2023 season.

Kyle Larson, Driver, said:

“I’m super excited. Competing at the Indianapolis 500 is a dream of mine and something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time – since I was a child before I ever began competing in sprint cars. To do it with McLaren Racing and Mr. Hendrick especially is a dream come true. I’m grateful for the opportunity and am really looking forward to it even though it’s still about a year-and-a-half away. I’m really looking forward to competing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 and maybe even get a win or two that day.”

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said:

“Adding Kyle Larson with a partnership to the Indy 500 lineup in 2024 is exciting for our Arrow McLaren team as well as for race fans. He’s a complete driver, known for racing anything on wheels, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Kyle can do in an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car. It’s been great working with Rick Hendrick and (Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman) Jeff Gordon to pull this together, so a big thank you to them for what’s to come in May 2024.”  

Rick Hendrick, Chairman/CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said:

“Having the opportunity to support Kyle, partner with an elite team like Arrow McLaren and promote in one of the world’s great auto racing events is truly unique. All of us are competitors. Putting Kyle in top-level equipment and allowing ample time for him to prepare for such a difficult challenge was important. It’s going to be very, very special to field a Chevrolet in the Indy 500 as a car owner. A collaboration like this was what we needed to make it happen, and fortunately the stars aligned. We’re 100% committed to doing it right and look forward to working with Zak and his organization.” 

Gavin Ward, Racing Director, Arrow McLaren, said:

“Kyle’s ability and desire to compete across so many disciplines of motor racing is as rare today as it is refreshing. He’s one of the best dirt track racers on the planet. He’s a NASCAR Cup champion. He’s won a Rolex 24 at Daytona. He’s an incredibly talented driver and has shown his ability to win no matter what he’s racing. I can’t think of a more exciting addition to Arrow McLaren’s 2024 Indy 500 lineup. We’re all racers on this team, and we’re going to give it everything to make sure this endeavour is as successful as possible.” Previous

Arrow McLaren Rebranding Not Surprising

Anyone who didn’t expect Arrow McLaren SP to eventually become simply Arrow Mclaren was kidding themselves. The name change was inevitable. The Arrow McLaren name, effective for the 2023 Indycar season, reflects the changes in the team since McLaten came on board in 2020.

The team founded by Sam Schmidt has now undergone six name changes since sam Schmidt Motorsports began competing in 2001. Fo 2012 the team was Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, then Schmidt Peterson in 2014, Arrow Schmidt Peterson followed in 2019, Arrow McLaren SP in 2020, and now Arrow McLaren.

Schmidt and the Arrow ca her has driven with mouth and head controls

I understand that Sam Scmidt and Rick Peterson’s roles with the team will remain unchanged. I find it sad that Schmidt’s name will no longer be on a car in some fashion.

Sam Schmidt has put a lot into Indycar. After the accident in Texas which paralyzed him, he began his own team and also had a large presence in Indy lights. His cars won two poles at the Indianapolis 500, with Alex Tagliani and James Hinchcliffe. Schmidt also had an ownership stake in Dan Wheldon’s 11 Indianapolis victory.

Schmidt has done a lot of work helping others who have become paralyzed.

Times do change, and names move on. I think Schmidt still has a lot to co0ntribute to Indycar, and I wish there wer4e some way he could still be recognized on a car.