Q and A with the Andrettis at Texas MICHAEL ANDRETTI, OWNER OF ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT, MARCO ANDRETTI, DRIVER OF NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET AND MARIO ANDRETTI met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway. Full transcript:
WILL POWER SAID AMERICAN’S SHOULD GET BEHIND THEIR AMERICAN DRIVERS IN THE SERIES. THEY ARE REALLY STARTING TO EMERGE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “Yeah, I agree. I think it can’t be a bad thing for us to be at least competing for the top right now. Obviously there is a lot of unfinished business for me. I want to start stringing some wins together to hopefully generate even more interest. It’s been a decent start to the season, but we’ve got to keep going. I don’t see a negative anywhere.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE IN RYAN HUNTER-REAY WHEN THE TEAM BROUGHT HIM INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION? CAN YOU EXPRESS THE GRATIFICATION YOU FELT WHEN HE WON A TITLE LAST YEAR AFTER YOU BROUGHT HIM IN SORT OF OUT OF THE COLD?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: “Yeah, what we saw in Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was a versatile driver, a guy that was competitive in all different types of race tracks. That is very important for this series to have a guy that can do that because that is the only way you are going to win the championship because it is so competitive out there. Ryan has done exactly what we had hoped when he joined the team. As for the championship last year it was just such a great feeling to get Ryan up there and get the championship in the way that we did. It was just amazing. It was also great for our team because we were going through some hard times a year before that. To turn it around was awesome. Ryan was a big part of that. It was a huge year last year.”
YOU LOOK AT YOU AND HELIO (CASTRONEVES) ARE BOTH TIED FOR THE POINTS LEAD BUT NEITHER ONE OF YOU HAVE A WIN. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY THAT YOU GUYS ARE HAVING BUT ALSO THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE SERIES RIGHT NOW?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “Consistency is what I’ve worked on in the off season I just want to be consistently better. I think we have been knocking on the door and like hanging and lingering around the top six, a couple of podiums. I’m pleased with the start of the season, but I’m not exactly where I want to be yet. We need to keep working. I think I’m a lot closer at where I was weak last year, so that is helping, but like I said not where I want to be right now. If we come out of here with a win then we could start some big momentum that will be the goal.”
ARE WE GOING TO SEE CAROLS (MUNOZ) AGAIN THIS YEAR? WHERE DOES INDYCAR GO FROM HERE? WE ARE SEEING SOLID FIELDS; WE ARE SEEING GOOD DRIVERS, COMPETITION, WHERE DO THEY GO FROM HERE?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: “As for Carlos (Munoz) we are working on it. We don’t have anything yet. There is a possibility maybe to do one or two more races near the end of the year with him. We would love to be able to do it. As you see we think he’s a great talent. He also has to focus on his Indy Lights championship too that we are going to try to win with him.
“Where is IndyCar going? I mean product wise it’s the best racing product in the world. It just really is. Race in and race out it’s just an amazing show. I think the whole thing is we need to get it out there more. We have got to figure out ways to get our TV ratings up and things like that. The basics are there we just now get it out there.”
WHEN YOU WERE HERE DOING A PROMOTION BEFORE THE INDY 500 YOU TALKED ABOUT HAVING A DRIVING COACH AND THAT BEING SOMETHING THAT YOU THOUGHT WOULD HELP YOU MATURE AS A DRIVER. HOW DID THAT HELP YOU OR DID IT HELP YOU AT INDIANAPOLIS? MICHAEL AND MARIO AS GRANDFATHER AND FATHER WHAT MATURE LEVEL HAVE YOU SEEN MARCO AS HE HAS RISEN IN THE RANKS OF INDYCAR DRIVING? HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THAT CHANGE IN HIM?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “I’m not sure how it helped me at Indianapolis. I was just really working on my weak points which at the time were the street circuits. But having said that I think a big word that wasn’t part of my vocabulary was finesse back the last few years of my career. I think that was costing me. I think that could have helped me at Indy just be a little more patient. Having looked back at it now I would have probably went for the most laps led, but we were just kind of watching fuel and being more patient than I probably would have been in the past at Indy. That is probably the only difference.”
MARIO ANDRETTI: “As for Marco obviously at this point has enough experience to really be able to assess what is going on and he just said it. He realizes what he has to work on primarily the problem with some of these young lads is that because of the way the rules are today they don’t get enough seat time really to do a lot of testing like we used to where you get a chance to really try a lot of things. Right now you come into a race weekend and you’ve got to be either right on or you’re not. So it takes a little bit longer, but I think as you said you can see obviously that I think he has buckled down and I think focused a little more on somewhat he really needs to work on. Again, now of course by having the responsibility to be up there in the points… what they gone six races or so in the series a long way to go for sure, but at least right now he has something to protect and go for. He has got the team behind him and he has the experience now I think to carry it. But, it’s all about like I said experience, maybe we are late bloomers I don’t know. Again, I think he is at a point that he can definitely carry the team to a championship. I’m positive of that.”