Andretti Autosport

Rossi goes from California to Europe to Indy for big win

Alexander Rossi stood atop the Empire State Building, the Manhattan skyline stretching out behind him, and smiled for the camera.

It was an all-American scene starring a kid from California. Two days earlier, the 24-year-old Rossi became the first U.S.-born rookie since Louis Meyer in 1928 to win the Indianapolis 500 — the 100th, no less.

Yet this moment was Made in Europe. Rossi had dreamed of Formula One glory since the age of 10 and moved across the pond when he was 16 to try to make that happen.

When he came to IndyCar this season — only because a full-time F1 ride failed to materialize — the adjustment was, as he likes to say, massive. But it...