Rossi on top of world after slowing to Indy 500 win

Tue May 31, 2016 6:48pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi literally coasted to victory at the Brickyard in the 100th running of the race on Sunday but his triumph was anything but worry free.

IndyCar series rookie Rossi won the fabled race after a bold tactical move to forgo refueling to save time and in this individualist sport relied on help from his Andretti Autosport team mates to make it to the finish.

Rossi says he ran out of gas at Turn Four of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval with about 440 yards (400 meters) left.

"I was just praying that there was nobody coming up behind me," the 24-year-old Californian told Reuters on Tuesday. "It was the longest trip from Turn Four to the start/finish line."

He had petered down to 130 miles per hour (209 km per hour) by the time he got the checkered flag, almost 100 mph (161 kph) slower than he should have been, but still crossed the line with more than four seconds to spare.

"I kept looking at the Yard of Bricks (marking the finish), looking at my rear view mirror, saying 'Please, may nobody come and pass me.'

"When I finally got my car over the finishing line I looked to my right and it was 'Yeah, we did it. Thank god'," Rossi said from the Empire State Building Observation Deck on the 86th floor about the moment that he felt on top of the world.

Standing next to the giant silver Borg-Warner Trophy whose Art-Deco design looked at home in the iconic Manhattan skyscraper, Rossi praised his fellow Andretti team drivers.   Continued...

May 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar Series driver Alexander Rossi celebrates after winning the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports