Indy 500 rookie Rossi discusses technology of racing with local students

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Following an impressive opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice in which he was the fastest rookie on the oval and part of an Andretti team that posted the top four times of the day, Alexander Rossi met with local students about the science and technology of racing through Purdue’s M-STEM program.

Rossi was encouraged by Monday’s marks and is getting some lessons of his own in the science of driving at the Speedway.

“The corners are mathematically all the same, but they are four independent corners and that really surprised me,” Rossi said of his practice laps. “You hear people talk about it but until you drive it and you realize, ‘Wow, turn two is hard’ or ‘Turn four is easy,’ it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. But as you look into it and you realize that the wind plays such a massive factor here, it starts to come clear.”

More than 800 middle school and high school students at the M-STEM 500 Student Fair were able to pose questions to the Indy 500 rookie as he took a break from the track on a rainy Tuesday that delayed the scheduled practice sessions.

The fair, which is in its third year, uses motorsports to provide students hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Additionally, Honda Performance Development offered a session that breaks down the aerodynamics and performance characteristics of a Verizon IndyCar Series race car.

The fair is part of M-STEM3 (Motorsports STEM for Manufacturing and Medicine) at Purdue, an initiative designed to encourage students’ interest in STEM fields by taking advantage of Purdue’s vicinity to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its acknowledgment as the “Racing Capital of the World.”