Alexander Rossi earned title as IndyCar's pass master for 2018

Because of his ability to make passes where other drivers won’t dare, and his ability to slice through the field like a Ginza chef’s knife, Alexander Rossi has earned the reputation as IndyCar’s pass master.

Consider these statistics:

— Firestone Award for most laps completed (2,366 of 2,368)

— 321 total passes, 191 net passes, 151 passes for position (first in all categories)

That’s right, Rossi completed all but two laps this season. The last driver to complete every lap of the season was Tony Kanaan when he won the 2004 IndyCar championship.

And the 321 total passes, 191 net passes and 151 passes for position were first in all categories. He made 53 passes at Phoenix when he dropped two laps behind the leader. He started 32nd in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 and raced his way to a fourth-place finish.

Rossi’s goal in 2018 was to win the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He fell just short of that as Scott Dixon claimed his fifth IndyCar title, but it was still quite a season for the driver from Auburn, California.

In 17 starts, Rossi had three wins, three poles, eight podiums, 14 top-10s and 415 laps led. He never fell below third in the championship rankings at any point in the season.

“We didn’t go in with the lead, so we didn’t give anything away,” Rossi, 27, told Autoweek of that final race of the season. “We came out in the same position we went in. For sure, we would have liked for it to go in a different position, but I wasn’t too upset about it, to be honest.

“I don’t even know if it was our best shot, to be honest. We had a good year, and there were a lot of positives to look back on. It was my best year at Andretti Autosport, but I don’t think that was our best attempt at it. I look forward to improving on the weaknesses and strengthening the strengths for next year and think we have a good opportunity at that.”

Now that it’s the offseason, Rossi continues his conditioning program.

“I’ve been in the gym every day since Sonoma and having more fun with it,” Rossi said. “I will be skiing a lot this winter, riding my dirt bike and having fun away from the racetrack.”

Rossi will also attend the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas for the first time since he was a Formula 1 driver in 2015.

“There are a lot of people there I haven’t seen in a long time and a lot of old friends,” Rossi said. “I’m looking forward to catching up with them. It will be nice to get back there, see the cars and watch Lewis Hamilton win.”

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