Andretti hoping more wins will come as TMS looms
Marco Andretti led 59 laps at the Indianapolis 500, more than anyone, and didn't win.
|Marco Andretti led the most laps at Indy|
That kind of missed opportunity stings any driver.
But for a 25-year-old driver, there is time. To get over it. And to win it one day.
"Hopefully, that's one thing I have going for me, is time," Andretti said last week as he got ready to run at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. "I'm already in my seventh year in the game, but I'm only 25."
The son of Michael Andretti is indeed in his seventh year in the Izod IndyCar Series.
But he has only two wins to show for it as the series comes to Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 550 on Saturday night. He won as a rookie in 2006 at Sonoma, Calif., and last year at Iowa.
No doubt, he and his team at Andretti Autosport would like to have won more.
But he's right about time. He has it.
"It will be great when he starts winning more races, and I think that will shut a lot more people up," said his father (and boss), Michael Andretti, at Indianapolis two weeks ago. "He's getting himself more and more competitive. He's had a really tough year this year. If it can go wrong, it's gone wrong with him this year."
And gone wrong big.
He qualified seventh in the season opener at St. Petersburg but finished a lap down.
He crashed after just 22 laps at Long Beach.
He started 10th at Sao Paulo but finished 14th, again a lap down.
And at Indy, he started on the second row, led 59 laps, but couldn't hold the car's loose back end long enough to give himself a chance to win. He crashed with 12 laps to go.
"For me, it's been one of my worst starts to a season for my career," he said. "Somehow, we're still [18th] in points. We're a win out of the top six. Somehow, I don't know, it's just not gone the way I would like. Pace-wise, I'm pleased. The cars are right there. It's not like I'm getting my butt kicked. Circumstantial things are taking me out of it. I have a good feeling going forward."
Indy has been tough on Andrettis. Only Marco's grandfather, Mario, won there. Michael was winless in 16 starts, despite leading more than 400 laps over the years.
"I led the most laps, but not at one point did I think it was over," Marco said. "I know how Indy is. I know it can bite you. The car was very loose the entire race, but very quick. It ended up biting me there in the end." [Editor's Note: We have always said the fastest way around the race track is loose. The great drivers do it and win often, others attempt to do it and hit the wall.]
TMS might do the same. Marco is winless in seven starts on the Fort Worth oval, with only one podium finish. He had a chance for a win in 2008, but he made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay with six laps to go, ruining the race for both.
But that was four years ago.
Andretti believes he has gained much maturity, particularly when it comes to keeping his head during long races. He no longer has to convince himself he can get a good finish out of a struggling car.
"I think that's exactly what I learned from being a rookie to now, is learning how to fight and not just kind of throwing in the towel," he said. "Things are not going to be perfect. It doesn't mean I'm not going to fulfill my potential."
His father can see that.
"He's doing a good job," Michael said. "He's growing more and more confident. I see it in him, and I've been saying it. He's getting ready to do his big breakout." Star Telegram