And The Beating Goes On For Andretti Family At Indy
By Mike Harris | Senior Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – Sometimes the racing gods simply want to have a good laugh.
On Sunday, they gave the Andretti family hope that its 43-year-old Indianapolis 500 curse was about to end.
Marco Andretti, the 26-year-old third-generation driver, went into the race confident that he had a car to give his family its first driving win since grandfather Mario wore the victory wreath and drank the milk in 1969.
Over the intervening years, Mario and Marco’s father Michael came agonizingly close, both of them losing seemingly certain victories in numerous ways. Michael, now retired and his son’s car-owner, led more laps than any other non-winner here. Marco appeared to have a win wrapped up in his rookie year, only to lose on the final straightaway to Sam Hornish Jr.
And the beat goes on, even if it seemed like Sunday would finally be the day that the family could put that all behind them and ended the so-called Andretti Curse.
Marco was the guy to beat in the early going, moved out to the lead with seeming ease and staying out front for 59 of the first 90 laps on the historic 2 1/2-mile oval.
But the first indication of trouble to come was his crew telling Marco his fuel mileage was lagging far behind that of Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon.
A broken CV joint knocked the competitive car of Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the race, giving Marco’s team more to think about, particularly when his car developed a vibration midway through the race.
Marco fell back into the pack as the race unfolded, barely keeping the leaders in sight.
Finally, in a desperate effort to get back to the front, the youngster tried to make a charge. He drove hard under Oriol Servia, put his left-side tires on the edge of the grass and slid up the banking into the outside wall, ending his day in frustration, 13 laps from the end.
At first, Marco blamed Servia for forcing him down the track. Later, he back off that statement.
“I’m very disappointed. It wasn’t over by any means at that point. But I made my own bed there,’’ Marco said. “Very sore. Unlucky but lucky.’’
Television quickly showed Mario, sitting stoicly in his grandson’s pit, his face a mask of his emotions. In the end, it was just another unlucky, unhappy finish for the Andrettis at the Brickyard.
– Mike Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment