Andretti out of retirement for Indy 500 return

UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Michael Andretti has raced his father, brother and cousin in the Indianapolis 500. Next he'll race his son. Andretti, 43, will confirm his return to racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a news conference today at Andretti Green Racing's headquarters, officials for the team and the Indy Racing League with knowledge of the situation said Monday. He will be joined by his son, Marco, who will drive one of AGR's four cars for the full Indy-car season. Marco, who will be 19 when the IRL's season begins, will replace league champion Dan Wheldon, who moved to Ganassi Racing. Returning to AGR will be Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. Michael's return will be limited to the 500, where he last raced in 2003. He has not won the race in 14 attempts as a driver. Wheldon gave him his first Brickyard victory as a team owner. IndyStar

12/14/05 This rumor appears to be close to going to 'fact.' According to this article, Marco Andretti will be joining Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta on the IRL's most dominating team in '06 and his father, the all-time winner in CART who quit racing following the 2003 Indy 500, will be in a fifth car for May.

With Five cars in the Indy 500 to help fill the field, how can Andretti Green not win?

12/10/05 We reported hearing this a month ago. Today's Indy Star newspaper finally got wind of it. Maybe it was the milk he drank as a winning car owner of the Indianapolis 500, but something has led Michael Andretti to reconsider his retirement from racing. Andretti, 43, has told friends he'll drive in the 2006 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway if sponsorship materializes.

True to form, Andretti (Pictured right talking to father Mario) was guarded this week when asked to confirm his plans, but it's clear he is treating the idea seriously. "I might, but it depends on a lot of things," he said.

Andretti has driven in the race 14 times, most recently in 2003. His only Indy win came as an owner of Dan Wheldon's car in May. Ironically, one of the sticking points to Andretti's return is the vacancy created by Wheldon, who left Andretti Green Racing for Chip Ganassi's team. AGR must first solidify its four-car Indy Racing League program.

"Dan threw a monkey wrench into a lot of things we wanted to do," Andretti said.

[Editor's Note: If sponsorship can be found? The team has more sponsors than they know what to do with. The bottom-line reason Michael may have to drive in the Indy 500 is to help the desperate Indy Motor Speedway fill their 33 car field. Because of Tony George's vision, Indy Car racing is reeling and car count is at desperate levels. There needed to be a unification years ago, and it could have happened after 2006, but Honda decided to continue to supply engines to the IRL, which ensured it will survive, at least through 2009. However, by then NASCAR will be a complete monopoly and squash Indy Car Racing like a bug whenever they want.]

11/06/05 Here's a crazy one, we hear that Michael Andretti might come out of retirement to run the Indy 500 with his son Marco. If true, how many cars will AGR field next year? He's already supposedly signed Herta, Franchitti and Kanaan. The two Andrettis would make a 5-car assault on Indy.

Given how desperate things are getting in the IRL to fill next year's Indy 500 field, perhaps AGR can run all of its backup cars too, and field 10 cars in the 500! Steve Levinson

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