The Verizon IndyCar Series heads to ISM Raceway this weekend for the first oval race of the season, the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix. Andretti Autosport head to the event following a strong start to the season which saw the team secure a podium finish at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with Alexander Rossi coming home in third place behind Graham Rahal.
It is going to be a special weekend for Marco Andretti in the No.98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda as he carries a special commemorative livery to celebrate 25 years since his grandfather Mario Andretti scored his final Verizon IndyCar Series win which came at the Phoenix Grand Prix in 1993.
Marco Andretti had a great opening event to the 2018 season finishing the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in ninth place. Speaking ahead of the race in Phoenix, Andretti said:
“We had a pretty good test in Phoenix back in February – ending P6 – an we’re looking to build on that as we enter the race weekend. I’m excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my grandfather’s last win with a special throwback livery to his 1993 Newman Haas colors. Big thanks to Oberto Beef Jerky and Circle K for coming together and helping us really throw things back properly.
Alexander Rossi is hoping the No.27 MilitaryToMotorsports.com crew can build on the strong foundation from St Pete, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner commented by saying:
It’s been quite a few weeks since St. Pete which has allowed us all to get prepared for three back-to-back races starting this weekend in Phoenix. I cannot wait to get out there and get started and hopefully grab the second podium of the year.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda is hoping that he can build on a strong race in St Petersburg having finished the event in fifth place. Speaking ahead of Phoenix he commented by saying:
The first oval race of the year coming up at ISM Raceway and one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be quite a bit different than the past couple years. The new universal aero kit with less downforce will present a whole new set of challenges when it comes to running in traffic. Clean air will be key; however, due to the size of the track, we’ll spend most the race buried in traffic. This is potentially an opportunity we can take advantage of if we can develop a good race setup in practice.
Zach Veach in the No.26 Group One Thousand One Honda is extremely excited to racing under the lights at ISM Raceway and speaking ahead of the race this weekend he commented by saying:
I’ve been really looking forward to racing in Phoenix since we announced my full season with Andretti! As a young guy, you always dream about racing an Indy car under the lights. To finally be into race week and heading to ISM Raceway with the Group One Thousand One car is definitely something I’m excited about. With the first race behind us, we have a little momentum starting to build and I’m ready to see what’s in store for us at Phoenix. As a team, we had a pretty strong test here back in February, so we should be starting off on the right foot.