Nascar is the face of US racing, Indycars are a sideshow in comparison, (just compare the tv audience numbers) mostly filled with guys out of of the European series.
F1 has virtually no presence here in the US - The races are on at crazy hours, DVR is your friend. I have seen all the races this year, quali, and practices, but only seen two of them live. (I live on the west coast.)
NASCAR has such a big presence here that "Name" Indycar drivers are virtual unknowns. F1 drivers basically do not exist. F1 is some racing series they all do in europe...
As a result the vast majority of up and coming american drivers aspire to be big in NASCAR. Guys like Rossi are anomalies.
With the majority of young racers here trying to go for NASCAR, the talent pool for american F1 prospects is extremely shallow.
So don't hold your breath for an American driver to make waves in F1 anytime soon...
Absolutely true. It is difficult from a European perspective to comprehend how low a profile F1 has in the US sports scene. Michael Schumacher at the height of his fame, stood in line at a Texas race facility, waiting for a demo lap and nobody recognized him. He enjoyed vacationing there because no one would bother him.
There are F1 enthusiasts for sure, with 330+ million people even 4% would constitute a sizable audience, It's just that F1 is a niche sport and information must come from sites like this one, or specialty publications.
USA is unique in that top driving talent, sponsorship and race engineering gravitate to sedan racing. NASCAR has some very talented drivers, but oval sedan racing is not a logical preparation for F1. The converse is that aging F1 talent find it very hard to race competively in NASCAR.
As for Indy Car, I saw nothing in last week's Toronto race to quicken the pulse of any Grand Prix spotter. F Scott Fitzgearald said "There are no second acts in American lives". Likewise IndyCar is not going to return to the CART days of the 90s, when it could be reasonably viewed as tier 2 in world racing, and there was a credible exchange of top drivers.
I suspect there are very talented Americans racing in sprint cars, dirt track etc somewhat off the radar. Some of these people may be good enough for F1, but their ability to attract team managers is a very tough obstacle to overcome.
Having a permanent American GP in Austin should help somewhat in the long run, but I don't for see Americans racing competively in F1 in the near future.