I am happy to report that I have been proven wrong, completely wrong. Turns out Mikhail, who is the first Russian to ever race in Indycar, is a very funny, charming, and black-and-white person. He wears his heart on his sleeve, never holding his opinions or emotions back. He is very good at using Twitter to express who he is as a person as well as sharing his opinions, as seen below:
I got penalty for blocking Sato which was 4 laps down, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?
— Mikhail Aleshin (@mikhailaleshin) May 31, 2014
That was hard one!:) But Im fune. Theese kind of situations will make us together with @SPMIndyCar & @SMP_Racing only stronger!!!
— Mikhail Aleshin (@mikhailaleshin) May 10, 2014
Has passed my ROP test!!! Yeeeah!!!:))) pic.twitter.com/P52wT7ipE8
— Mikhail Aleshin (@mikhailaleshin) May 5, 2014
Aleshin has adjusted very well to Indycar. The biggest challenge for him was adjusting to ovals. If you gave me a sheet of Mikhail's session times and results on ovals without his name on it and I had to guess which driver in Indycar it was, I would have guessed it was a seasoned Indycar veteran. Although he did not get the result he was looking for at Indianapolis, he was impressively quick. His latest race was a work of magic. Mikhail, who had never been to Texas Motor Speedway before this year, ran with the front runners after working his way from the back to finish P7. That is fantastic! Not only that, but he was aggressive and ambitious, two great qualities for any rookie.
Forget the fact that he had never raced at Texas before, Mikhail had never been to America before the season. The amount of courage that it takes to ditch the European racing circuit and to try your hand at American racing is courageous. This man deserves a lot of credit for what he has done. He may not be as consistent as Carlos Munoz, or as fast as Jack Hawksworth, but Mikhail sure does belong in the same sentence as them.
|Photo: Robert Laberge / Getty Images North America|
For now, I can see Mikhail fighting to crack the top-ten in the championship standings. But I'm trying to think long term. I wish to see Mikhail in the series for a long team. His sponsor, SMP Bank, has been given sanctions by the United States and Europe following the Ukrainian crisis. The owner of the bank is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. These sanctions could put Aleshin's sponsorship money in jeopardy. The question remains, will Aleshin have money to race following 2014?
Aleshin has proven to be quite the driver. The lesson I have been taught is when a new driver comes to Indycar, don't be so quick to judge. This man has turned out to be a stud.
I am indeed now a big fan of Mikhail Aleshin.
Let me know what you think!