Alexander Rossi, whose full-time job is driving in the Verizon IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport, has been added to Team Penske’s driver list for its endurance sports-car effort for two races in 2019.
Rossi will team with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No.7 Acura ARX-05 DPi in the Prototype class for a pair of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events – the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts in March.
“I have watched and raced against Team Penske in INDYCAR, and I have a lot of respect for the organization and what they do and how they do it,” said Rossi. “I really appreciate Andretti Autosport for allowing me the opportunity to represent Acura in some of the biggest sports car races in the world. I can’t wait to work with Helio and Ricky, to learn from them and hopefully contribute to some wins and a championship for Acura Team Penske.”
Rossi fills the co-driver seat for endurance events held this year by Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Simon Pagenaud, a Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series driver, will return to compete in the endurance events with the sports car team in 2019, racing the No. 6 Acura with full-time racers Juan Pablo Montoya (the two-time Indy 500 winner) and Dane Cameron.
Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, has watched Rossi rise to stardom driving a Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series and is eager to see the Californian race in the sister Acura brand in sports cars.
“Alexander will be a great addition to the Acura Team Penske lineup in 2019 and all of us at Acura are very excited about our prospects for the coming season,” St. Cyr said. “When you add Alexander to the experienced team of Helio, Ricky, Juan and Dane – and with Simon returning for the endurance events – we are extremely proud of the talented and accomplished Acura Team Penske driver lineup. We look forward to our second opportunity to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the ARX-05.
“Alexander has been a great representative of Honda in the IndyCar Series, from his Indy 500 victory in 2016 to competing for the title this past season. We are pleased to have this opportunity to build our relationship with him through our sports car program.”
Foyt to be inducted into Houston Sports Hall of Fame
Racing legend A.J. Foyt will join esteemed company when he is inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 6.
The all-time leader in Indy car wins is part of the second class inducted that also includes 95-year-old former golfer Jack Burke Jr., who won the Masters and PGA Championship in the same year (1956), Olympic gold medalist and two-time world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and former Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini.
A lifelong Houston resident, Foyt is proud to be part of the class to be enshrined.
“I was born and raised in Houston and I’ve never left. I don’t care how many times you’ve been honored, it is really special to be honored in your hometown,” said Foyt, 83. “And I’m glad to know I won’t be the oldest one there!”
Honorees will receive a plaque on the Houston Sports Walk of Fame, individually designed HOF rings created by Diamond Cutters International and a custom Knot Standard blazer on stage.
“Celebrating a Lifetime of Houston Sports” is the theme for this year’s ceremony which will honor the 70th anniversary of Burke’s first professional win (1949), the 60th anniversary of Foyt’s debut in the Indianapolis 500 (1958), the 50th anniversary of Foreman winning gold in the 1968 Olympics and the 40th anniversary of Pastorini winning back-to-back AFC titles (1978-79).
Foyt, the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, and his fellow inductees will join inaugural Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (baseball), Earl Campbell (football) and Hakeem Olajuwon (basketball). They were honored last year when the theme of each wearing the No. 34 in their careers.