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Nevada City Kid Wins Indianapolis 500

Chris Owens / Indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Team co-owner Michael Andretti congratulates rookie Alexander Rossi on winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500. The Andretti family's tough luck as drivers at the track is well-chronicled. Andretti's father, Mario was the last to win as a driver -in 1969.

Chris Owens / Indianapolismotorspeedway.com

The good news during the last lap of the Indianapolis 500: Alexander Rossi, a rookie from Nevada City, was leading the race on the final lap. The bad news: He was running out of gas.

At the post-race press conference, Ross described the conversation with Andretti-Herta co-owner, Bryan Herta, as Rossi was trying to complete his 36th lap on one tank of gas. Most cars had been required to fill up after 32 laps.

"I'm still on the last lap with Bryan yelling at me, 'Pull the clutch and coast,'" he says. "And I'm like, 'What?'"

Rossi finished on fumes and 4.5 seconds ahead of teammate Carlos Munoz. Rossi called the race "too close for comfort."

"The emotional rollercoaster of this race is ridiculous," he says. "There was moments where I was really stoked. There was moments where I was heartbroken. There was moments where I was stoked again, and heartbroken. I was like, 'Wow, I need to see a psychiatrist after this.'"

Rossi is 24 and has been successful at every level of racing since he was 10 and racing out of Nevada City. He was born in Auburn.

According to his website, by 14, he was a multiple National and International Karting champion and the youngest driver to win an open-wheel racing championship in U.S. History.

He moved to Europe at 17 to race there and now splits time between London and Indianapolis.

He is the first rookie to win the race since Helio Castroneves in 2001.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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