Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi is defending himself from accusations of hitting a rival driver with a vehicle in a series of videos posted by DriversAdvocate.com on Thursday.
The website obtained two videos in which Rossi can be seen in the car of fellow driver Zach Veach, hitting Veach from behind multiple times. One of the videos also shows Rossi apparently kicking Veach as the two men embrace in the track’s infield care center.
Veach, the 2016 Champ Car World Series champion, is a British racer. Veach’s contract with Cheetah Racing for the 2019 season was not renewed by Panoz following the incident.
Rossi denied striking Veach on Twitter, saying that he has never hit Veach, calling his name a “stalker.”
“I’m not kidding. You guys just want me to talk and leave this alone. @GillilandRacing once again, @ZachVeach this is ridiculous and I’ve NEVER hit him! He always just sits and watches from a distance. I don’t even know why I’m bringing this up. If it bothers you, I hope you go and express yourself in a more constructive manner,” Rossi wrote on Twitter.
The incident started after Rossi shoved Veach as Veach raced for the lead on Lap 17, causing a little bit of a melee, but Veach swerved and collided with the wall.
“I’m extremely disappointed in how that race went last night. These are big-time competitors and those two guys are going for a Championship in a big event. They are going to do everything they can to win that event. And it just seemed like things started to go pretty bad from that moment on. The incident that happened at the end of that race kind of snowballed and devolved into kind of an unfortunate situation that’s never happened before,” Cheetah Racing executive vice president Guy Gilliland told CBS Sports.
Rossi claimed Veach charged toward him from behind after the race, despite Veach telling CBS Sports: “No way! I was behind him! I didn’t even go near him. And he charges me? I don’t think so.”
Rossi, a New Jersey native, is now considered by many the odds-on favorite to take home his first IndyCar championship at Sunday’s season finale in Las Vegas. But Veach said he feels threatened after the video was posted.
“If I hear one more crazy guy blaming all race ‘accidents’ on race cars, I’m going to take things personally!” Veach tweeted Thursday.
“I never saw anyone else drive and I never saw anyone else hit me — it was just so frustrating because I felt like everyone was on my side and it felt like I was the person with no side, and no one was on my side and I felt very cornered,” Veach told CBS Sports.
Rossi is a relatively unknown driver who had not won an IndyCar title in three seasons with KVSH Racing. With a resurgent Andretti Autosport now providing much of his support this season, he has likely won the title for the team, which finished third in the overall standings. With the title locked up, he is expected to remain on the Andretti roster next season.