NAPA Auto Parts returns to Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport for 2017

Walter Kuhn

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Last May, a last-minute deal between Andretti-Herta Autosport and NAPA Auto Parts saw the company ride to a shocking victory with rookie Alexander Rossi in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Given that, this season the two organizations decided not to wait as long to reach a deal.

Andretti-Herta Autosport confirmed Wednesday that NAPA Auto Parts will return to Rossi’s No. 98 Honda for select races in the upcoming Verizon IndyCar Series season.

NAPA Auto Parts will decorate Rossi’s machine for seven races on the year, including the season-opening race at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, both Month of May races at Indianapolis, Road America, Watkins Glen and Sonoma.

“NAPA is a storied, American brand and I couldn’t be more proud to announce our partnership is continuing,” Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti said in a release. “We were pleased to have previously announced that Alexander will be returning for the full season, and now to be able to confirm that NAPA is back on board – what a great way for us to start 2017. Our relationship with NAPA came together quickly during our Month of May program last year, and it wasn’t long before the partnership was written into history books. We can’t wait to add a few more pages to history together.”

After years of racing overseas, including five Formula One starts in 2015 with Manor Marussia F1 Team, Rossi, a native of Auburn, Cal., made his way back to America to compete in IndyCar in 2016. The rookie earned six top 10s on the year, with a lone podium coming in his incredible fuel-mileage upset in Indianapolis.

After murmurings that Rossi might return to F1, the 25-year-old was finally confirmed to be returning to Andretti in Oct.

“Confirming NAPA AUTO PARTS is the perfect way for us to start off 2017,” said Rossi. “NAPA is one of the most recognized brands in the U.S., and with over 6,000 stores, they touch every corner of our nation. In 2016, we had historic success together in the Verizon IndyCar Series, however there is still much more to accomplish. I’m proud to have NAPA back on board the No. 98 and am motivated to carry our momentum together through 2017.”

The 2017 IndyCar season will begin on March 10-12, when the field heads to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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