IRL: Indy 500: Andretti Green Racing Media Tour, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q</I>: Mike, given that the Borg-Warner Trophy is kind of your holy grail, have you given any thought at all to what you might be going through if he wins it before you do? MICHAEL ANDRETTI: God, I would love it if...

Continued from part 1

Q</I>: Mike, given that the Borg-Warner Trophy is kind of your holy grail, have you given any thought at all to what you might be going through if he wins it before you do?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: God, I would love it if he won it. If I can't do it, I hope he does it. You know, I don't know how many -- I don't know if I'm going to be here next year for sure, there's no plans at all. We'll have to see what happens this year. I'm going to give it my all to try to get it. I'm hoping that Dan (Wheldon) broke the ice for us last year by winning here. Hopefully now we can go out there and not have any problems and actually have a good month as a driver. So that's what I am going to try to do.

Q</I>: Marco, have you given that any thought at all, running in front of him in the final laps and seeing the checkers?

MARCO ANDRETTI: That would be a fairy tale; it definitely would. I have to say all he needs is a little bit to go his way. The last couple of times has just been, you know, you almost expect something to happen. So his last race when he was out, it's like, you know, it's almost like it was expected. But I think if a little goes his way, I think it can happen for him this year.

Q</I>: Marco, after the first two races this year, experiencing the same problem, how frustrating has that been for you and how tough has it been to keep your positive outlook?

MARCO ANDRETTI: It's been tough because the first time you can blame it on the car. Now obviously, you know, it's clear to everybody that it's my fault. But I just need to learn how to slip the clutch a little more. But, you know, I guess I have to put it behind me. It's the only thing I can do. But like I said, if we could have just finished -- I mean, I was just frustrated in myself because if we could have finished both, we wouldn't be looking too bad right now. But it's my rookie year.

Q</I>: Michael, the Andretti family has had a history of father-son, you beating your dad at Portland in that wild finish.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He beat me, but ...

Q</I>: You ran against your father for years, now you're running against your son. Describe the differences in them.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: To be honest, I don't know, yet. I think it's going to be definitely different. Obviously, that was my main motivation to get back in the race car, was that. And I think when I get out there -- even when I was out there driving together at Homestead, you know, it was definitely a different feeling than being out there with my dad because at that time, you know, Dad, you don't have to worry about Dad, he's been doing it his whole life. Now it's more like a nurturing-type feeling. So it is a little different. But I've got to say I'm very excited to be the first one to say that I've driven on the same team with my father, and now I'm going to be able to say I've done it with my son at Indianapolis, as well as my brother and my cousin. So it's pretty special times for sure.

Q</I>: Michael, if you could, speak a little bit as to fatherly advice versus team owner/driver advice.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: That's where I have to really be careful there, because I tend to get in there, and I'm probably harder, I know I'm harder on Marco than anybody else, and I need to just back off and try to take the father side out of it and try to look at it from the owner side. It is tough, you know, because you want to help and you want to jump in, but I have strict orders from everybody to stay out. (Laughter)

KANAAN: Best way was putting him in the car. (Laughter)

ANDRETTI: Exactly. That's their motives, I was wondering why they went for it. (Laughter)

SULLIVAN: For the other members of the team, the beginning of this year thus far, there have been pluses and minuses to the year. Dario is on the pole, has a wonderful weekend going in St. Petersburg, and that just went away. Tony, you've had some good runs, you had some good runs, as well, Bryan, but coming into this season from last year, you already had a couple wins under your belt and you ran the top four in St. Petersburg. So assess the year thus far and how you're feeling going into Japan and then to Indianapolis. TK, Dario, Bryan, any of you.

FRANCHITTI: Right now I'm in the same place I was last year after two races, a non-finish and a fourth. So, yeah, equally disappointing last year is this. The bright spot is we had absolutely the dominant car in St. Pete. We got in a good rhythm all weekend. I could drive the car exactly as I wanted. And that's small comfort, but to go out of the race after 15 laps, I wasn't -- right after the race I was disappointed, but by midnight that night I was trying to go to sleep, I was really disappointed, and that's when it hit me exactly. You can't keep giving away races like that. I said to Mike we've given away more races than we've won with stupid stuff like that, whether it's my mistake, team mistake or just bad luck sometimes, and it's pretty frustrating.

HERTA: I think like Dario said, I think there's a lot of positive in it. You know, I think as a team with Dario we should have won the St. Pete race or certainly if things hadn't gone wrong for him. That would have been good for the team. We didn't have a great weekend at Homestead. We only got one car to the finish. But that one car was in the top five solidly, and I think we would have had at least three or maybe four of our cars running up there had the race played out differently. So I think the worst thing we can do is focus on negatives. I think we have to look at the positives and say we're still a very competitive race team. We just haven't shown our very best the last two weekends, but we're coming out now to some tracks that I think really we're going to be stronger on than the first couple.

I think Motegi we feel really confident going to. We've had great cars here at Indianapolis. So I'm really looking forward to these next two races and feel like we're coming now into some places where we should be even stronger than we had been the first two.

SULLIVAN: How about Tony, you've been positioned to win this race at Indianapolis before and have been awful consistent for a couple years.

KANAAN: Yeah, I think in 2004 my worst result was Homestead. So hopefully that will be the case again. What do you expect? The last two years we dominated and we brought everybody's expectations very high, including ours. I think this series has proven that it's not a series that a team can dominate that much for that long. We knew that was going to happen. I mean, we definitely enjoyed the good times, and we knew that the difficult times were going to come. We never stopped working, and I think right now it's just closer. We were a step ahead for the last two years, you know, and we have good teams and very, very good capable people in this series that are working really hard to beat us. Right now they closed the gap. I don't think there's any negatives. Every year is a different year, so you can't expect to rematch what you did. I mean, we did 2004, we improved in 2005. Now we've just got to keep working like my teammate said. I think there are tracks that weren't good in 2003 and 2004 and 2005, and in 2006, which is exactly the same that happened was, if you look at our results in Homestead, they haven't been that great. So we've got to fix that. From now on I think we're going to be very strong.

Q</I>: Tony, you've been very close here like Michael and still haven't won. How important is it to you to kind of -- you've won the title, but you haven't won the big race.

KANAAN: Well, the only thing that makes me feel better is to compare myself to this guy. I mean, I try only four times in my life, and I've been close all of them. (Laughter)

It's not even fair to say anything. All right, yeah. If he wasn't here, I was going to say, yeah, it's been so close many times, but I don't even feel like it. I get shy. (Laughter) So I've been close for sure and I think I -- yeah, that would be hard to make me shy.

FRANCHITTI: Never seen it ever.

KANAAN: We've been close, and that's Indy. I mean, the guy that makes me feel good, it's all the time I feel bad about it, I go talk to him and he goes which year do you want me to tell you? (Laughter)

So we've got to keep trying, man. That's all we've got to do. It kind of follows like what Dario said, we've given away more than we actually have taken as victories. So I felt the last two years we had, but even worse last year we had a very dominant car. This is the beauty of this race. I mean it's not the guy that had the best car always wins. I think me and Dario were really strong here last year, and those two cars never even were in contention to win that race after the last pit stop. So we've got to keep trying, that's all. Makes me feel very good I have a championship under my belt, yes. Do I want to win Indy? Yeah. But hopefully I'm still very young -- not as young as my teammate here, but I'll keep trying.

Q</I>: The other question I have is you brought another rookie in here and gave him all kinds of help and in three years he goes out and wins the race. Are you going to do the same thing?


HERTA: Yeah, if you ask him. I was doing some quick math in my head and I realized that our friend Tom Carnegie here had called 42 Indianapolis 500s before Marco was even born. (Laughter)

I just do that, Tom, to make myself feel a little younger. (Laughter)

But, yeah, we work together. We give Marco as much support and help as we can, and we expect the same from him in return. If that means on Memorial Day weekend he goes out and beats us, then he deserves it because he certainly won't -- it won't be anything given to him on the racetrack, and we don't expect anything different in return.

SULLIVAN: Very good. Thank you very much. We're going to do one-on-ones.


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