2006 INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESS CONFERENCE Marco Andretti, Michael Andretti Sunday, May 28, 2006, Indianapolis Motor Speedway PAT SULLIVAN: Let's let him catch his breath a second. I think we should be prepared for a little distraction. This is one...
2006 INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESS CONFERENCE
Marco Andretti, Michael Andretti
Sunday, May 28, 2006, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
PAT SULLIVAN: Let's let him catch his breath a second. I think we should be prepared for a little distraction. This is one of the quickest entrants we've had in the media center for some time after an event.
Just reminder, we try to pass the microphone around, so be orderly about that with regard to our questions.
I suspect that's a look of anguish, but I think all of us feel we've seen one of the most remarkable performances of a rookie of all time. (Applause) Well deserved. Marco, that was a phenomenal race, and we know the disappointment is there because you're a competitor, but my, oh, my, what a day for you.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah. I've got to say thanks to all the NYSE boys.They did an awesome job all month. I knew I had a shot, the green flag, I knew I had a shot at this race, and that's what you want. To be completely honest, I thought I did it with one lap to go. But I don't know where that speed came from, I was on the overtake the last three laps of the race just holding it, but I don't know where that came from. I think I could have put a pretty decent block on him, but that's a very risky thing to do. But I know I have a lot of shots left, but you have to learn from my dad's career that you have to take advantage of every one of them. Man, I don't want to wait for next year. It's a bummer. (Laughter)
SULLIVAN: I think a lot of us thought, Marco, that when Sam made that move, and you were able to hold him off and he dropped way back, we thought perhaps it was there. Were you aware that he had dropped back that far?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah and, that's why I had thought that I had won it because I knew if I -- to be honest, any other car on the racetrack, if that would have happened to, I would have had the race won. But woulda, shoulda, coulda. Second place is nothing here.
SULLIVAN: Your perspective on that may change but we understand your feeling now. Let's take some questions for Marco Andretti.
Q</I>: Marco, can you describe the restart there trailing your dad? And was there any discussion with him about what lines you were going to take especially with the guys behind you and to have the temerity to take your dad on the outside, did he shake his fist at you as you went by? (Laughter)
MARCO ANDRETTI: No. When I passed him, I was hoping Bryan (Herta) was behind Dad, and the race was over. But no, you know, we spoke about this before that it would be a fairy tale if the two of us were coming down to try to win this race. We weren't going to let each other have it and we didn't.
Q</I>: Marco, first part. When Sam did have to fall back at that point -- let me rephrase it. If you had realized he was going to be coming through (Turn) 3 and 4 and off 4 like that on the last lap, is there anything you could have done if you realized he was going to come with that kind of speed?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I could have crashed us; that's the only thing I could have done. I have to say congrats to him. It's tough for me to do, but they were fast all month. I think I could have moved to the inside, but at that time he would have already made his move and it would have been a big one, but I don't know.
Q</I>: Marco, what did Mario say to you after you got out of the car?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I couldn't even hear anything that was going on. I was just doing the interviews. Obviously, "Good job." I'm sure everybody is happy with me. I'm happy with myself, definitely. Like I said, they don't remember people who finish second here, they really don't. Got to take advantage of every shot.
Q</I>: Marco, can you just take us through that last maybe two laps?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I thought I did, but all right. I was on the overtake the whole time. I knew I had the car to win, like I knew I was quicker than Dad, actually. But when I got by Dad, I was hoping that, you know, like I said, Bryan was going to be behind us and try to help us do this. But, you know, unfortunately he wasn't, which it's fair. But I definitely -- I wouldn't have done anything different except for the last, coming off the last corner, that's the only thing I would have changed because I think I did everything I needed to do in the last couple laps. He just had that speed. I don't know where it came from.
Q</I>: Marco, so many times, as you've mentioned, people don't remember who finishes second, but do you think you may have succeeded in altering that perception because of the fact you finished, you know, so close to him and had that chance to win? People still remember Scott Goodyear and Al Unser dueling it out at the end. Do you think people will remember this?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah. Yeah, I do. You know, not just people in my city, I hope everybody sees it. But how many times did my Dad finish second, you know? He never won it, and neither did I.
Q</I>: Marco, during the race we had a number of veteran drivers who either crashed out or had to stop. Did you notice any of that? And did it concern you at all being a rookie and thinking about how much their experience might have helped them in that situation?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I was just trying to be consistent and get the car home because, you know, with no mistakes. There was three or four times in this race where I almost crashed. I think you can't go through a race without having any scares. But, you know, the dear Lord was with me the whole time, and we made it to the end.
Q</I>: Marco, for a lot of the race you and your father were tucked in there, Danica was in, and you sort of like laid in that six, seven, eight. Was that the way you saw the race developing and waiting, you know, was there a patience factor there?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm not that good, man. No, I was trying. There's a lot of great race drivers out here, you know. I don't have to sort of sit back. I wish I could have, but I wasn't, not one lap out there.
Q</I>: Marco, if there is a word that you can describe today, thinking now that you finished second, what is that word?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't understand the question.
Q</I>: What word would you use to describe today?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Well, it definitely was awesome. I had a shot at winning the Indy 500, but we didn't.
Q</I>: Marco, just talk about the influence your dad had on you being behind you. You could tell he was trying to help you out and give you what line you should take. Just how influential was it having him kind of guide you through this?
MARCO ANDRETTI: It definitely, you know -- that's the good thing of having four teammates. You know, they're all out there yet they want to win the race but they're out there. It's us against everybody else, if you look at it like that until the last couple laps. But, yeah, I mean -- I don't know. At that stage in the race, I don't know how much I was actually learning, you know, from him but definitely, you know -- I don't know how to answer it any more than that.
Q</I>: Marco, it's a very physical race out there today because of the heat and the slipping and sliding. How physical was it for you?
MARCO ANDRETTI: It was tough. Fortunately enough we had a pretty decent amount of yellows it seemed like. But, no, I was all right. And I knew once I settled in, it's the best feeling in the world once you get in the rhythm and start hitting your marks. There was a middle stint where the car sort of went off a little bit. Man, there's so many things that could have won me this race, but I don't want to get into that.
Q</I>: Marco, if we could, could we go back to the -- oh, I'll pause. (Applause) (Michael Andretti enters conference room.)
Q</I>: Marco, could you -- welcome, Michael, by the way.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thank you.
Q</I>: Marco, let's go back to the second-to-last lap. Did you see Sam making the run on you going into 3?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yes, and I really think any other car on the racetrack, if that would have happened, you know, me getting the gap after Turn 3, I think the race would have been mine. I thought it was. I really thought it was. I was holding the overtake the last couple of laps. I don't know where it came from -- again, I don't know where that speed came from.
SULLIVAN: We did this informally, but I think we do owe a round of applause to a guy who came back and put on a whale of a show with a third-place run. How about it for Michael Andretti? (Applause)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thanks.
Q</I>: One more question for Marco. I know you're disappointed that you finished second, but has it sunk in yet of what you accomplished today as a rookie? I mean, in my opinion, one of the greatest rookie drives ever.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah. Like I said, it does feel awesome and, you know, I can't complain, I almost won the Indy 500 my first year in it. It's just the way as a competitor, I don't want to finish second. I don't want to wait until next year. I know I have a lot of shots at it, but I wish it was this year. Got to take advantage of every shot.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm glad he's not happy. (Laughter)
Continued in part 2