FedEx Championship Series When Michael Andretti takes green flag for Sunday's Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway, it will mark his 250th career Champ Car start. Of current drivers, Andretti's 250 starts ranks him second to only Al ...
FedEx Championship Series
When Michael Andretti takes green flag for Sunday's Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway, it will mark his 250th career Champ Car start. Of current drivers, Andretti's 250 starts ranks him second to only Al Unser, Jr. who has 272.
Andretti, who is CART's career victory leader with 37 wins and tops the career lap leader and single season lap leader charts, reminisces on his career over his 16 seasons in the CART series, his past choices, and what the future holds.
DID YOU KNOW THAT WHEN YOU TAKE THE GREEN FLAG FOR SUNDAY'S MARLBORO 500 IT WILL MAKE THE 250TH CHAMP CAR RACE OF YOUR CAREER? "Until I was told today, I didn't realize it. That's a lot of races. I guess it means I have been around a long time."
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGES? "Definitely the cars. The safety aspect of Champ Car racing has come so far since my first season. Just the way the cars themselves have transformed is really amazing when you compare some of the old cars to today's. This series has also grown tremendously. Corporate support for racing is something too that has changed dramatically over the course of my 16 seasons. There is so much more of it today and they are the ones responsible for much of the growth of the series."
BEING KNOWN AS CART'S WINNINGEST DRIVER IS BUT ONE OF YOUR MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, BUT WHERE DOES IT RATE AMONGST ALL OF YOUR RACING ACCOMPLISHMENTS? "It means a lot to me. My goal has always been to win races and to be leading that category in the CART series means a lot to me. All along, winning races has been my goal when I got into the series."
AT 37, YOU ARE KNOWN AS ONE OF THE ELDER STATESMEN IN THE SERIES. DO YOU FEEL ANY ADDED PRESSURE TO BE ONE OF THE GUYS TO CARRY THE SERIES? "I don't know if I would look at it as added pressure, maybe added responsibility is more like it. I don't feel like I am under pressure because of it, but, I feel like there are more things I can do to help the series. I have a lot of experience and am one of the more recognizable names in the series and because of that I can help the series."
OVER YOUR PREVIOUS 249 STARTS, WHICH ARE THE MOST MEMORABLE? "Well, Laguna Seca in 1991 when I won the race and the championship. Another big weekend for me was when I came back from F1 and won Australia in my first race back. That was a special win."
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT? "The 1992 Indy 500. That was my worst day in racing because my brother got hurt really bad, my dad got hurt and then I dropped out with ten laps to go."
LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO BACK AND CHANGE ONE OF THE DECISIONS YOU MADE IN YOUR RACING CAREER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? "The F1 decision and the way it all worked out. Obviously, if I had stayed in Champ Cars my record would be that much stronger and I wouldn't have had to rebuild some of my career, so, obviously I wouldn't have done that."
IN LOOKING AT YOUR RACING RESUME YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE DRIVING CHAMP CARS, FORMULA ONE, SPORTSCARS, IROC, DRIVEN LE MANS, BUT NOT NASCAR. ANY DESIRE? "No desire. No desire to do NASCAR. Maybe part of it is from my experience driving IROC. I really didn't enjoy the feel of the cars. I like racecars that are more like fighter planes than ones like bombers, I just perform better in the fighters."
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF FINISHING OUT YOUR CAREER IN CHAMP CARS? "Yes."
WILL WE SEE YOU BECOMING AN OWNER ONE DAY? "Maybe. That would be a nice thing. I would like to become an owner. I don't just want to leave Champ Car racing. It would be nice to still be involved in the series when my driving days are over."