IRL: Indy 500: Marco, Michael Andretti press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 SULLIVAN: Questions? Q</I>: Michael, as proud as you must be for the two of you to be sitting here second and third, after it sinks in, is this going to rank right up there in the Andretti heartbreaks after it...

Continued from part 1

SULLIVAN: Questions?

Q</I>: Michael, as proud as you must be for the two of you to be sitting here second and third, after it sinks in, is this going to rank right up there in the Andretti heartbreaks after it really sinks into you?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't think -- I really believe it's right now feeling like that, it's the heartbreak, another one. But I think in another couple days we're going to sit back and think, 'Oh, wow, who would have ever thought it would come down to that?' You know, we were running one and two with just a few laps to go in the Indy 500, and he almost pulled it off. I literally put my hand in the air thinking he won the race, and I couldn't believe it. Where did Hornish get that speed? It was like he had a button in there to push. It was just unbelievable.

MARCO ANDRETTI: I have to interrupt him and for everyone in the media we talked to before that asked us what we would do if we were coming down one-two, we thought it would be a fairy tale and thought we had it won.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: We almost did. I knew I didn't have the speed, and I saw Marco get a run on me and I figured I would get over, block him a little bit, but then I saw he had such a run that I was going to give him the line and figured I would try to help protect him and unfortunately, I didn't do a good enough job. Hornish got by me a little too quick, and that was it. But it was a fairy tale, it was the dream that we talked about. We all saw what we would do.

Q</I>: Michael, you talked a little bit about that moment where Marco came up on you. Do you think that he showed that there was a little chip off the old block there when he came right around you, overtook you?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was great. He had a really good run. And you know, there's nothing I could do except for just run the low line and see if he maybe wouldn't go for the outside, and he did. Then he had the line for the corner, and I knew that he would. So I figured I would ease out of it a little bit so he could run his own normal line so he wouldn't have to break stride and try to win, and he almost won.

Q</I>: Michael, I know you said this will seem like a heartbreak right away, but really, is this about as good as you felt about a second and third finish at Indianapolis? I mean, is the flip side how great it turned out, too?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I just wish Penskes weren't out there. (Laughter) I can't tell you how many times he cost me Indy, either three or four. Either the team or a driver, he's cost me. Yeah, I mean it's going to definitely -- that's what I meant by in a few days we'll get over the disappointment of the loss, and we'll look at the real story of really what happened. I think that's when it's all going to sink in. I mean, it was a storybook finish, you know. People are going to know that -- people are going to remember that even more than Hornish winning the race. What are the odds of a father-son coming down for that?

Q</I>: Michael, what's the future hold for you now? Is this retirement permanent?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: You guys just don't let off. Give me a break. Let me think about it a little bit. (Laughter)

I don't know, it's a little disappointing, you know, coming that close again. I've just got to sit back and see. I'll wait a few months to make my decision on whether I want to do it or not. It was a lot of hard work to do what we did. Coming up this close, coming this close, though, it does irk you, but still feel like you have a little unfinished business.

MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm going to work him for sure. I'm going to work him. (Laughter)

Q</I>: Michael, you alluded to this but maybe lost in this, you had a shot at winning this race at the end.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I know. I was there, I remember. (Laughter)

Q</I>: You had the fuel, and --

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: If that yellow didn't come out, we win the race. It's as simple as that. I know it was a shame. When I saw that yellow, I was like, 'No, no, no.' Then I knew it was going to be a shootout, and I didn't have the speed for a shootout. So I was hoping that the yellow would go. I was hoping when they had the wavearound that there would be another crash or something, you know, that the yellow would stay out. But it didn't, and I think if it would have been three laps to go, could have been a little different story. But five laps to go, just too many laps for me to hold them off.

Q</I>: To both of you, you've both said several times, Marco, especially you and Michael, you said once you wonder where that speed came from. Quite candidly, where do you think it came from?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know.

MARCO ANDRETTI: We need to find out. (Laughter)

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: If we knew, don't you think we'd have it?

Q</I>: An inspection?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, Penske's wouldn't cheat. He had a good tow, and he was able to keep his foot in it coming off, he didn't have to get out of it. He had the right gear at the right point. It was just -- he was lucky that he hit everything, the timing of where he fell back, actually. Probably if he would have fell back just a little further or a little closer, it wouldn't have worked out for him. You know, it just worked out that way for him again.

Q</I>: You mean when he had to back off?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, if he would have backed off not that much and just lost a little bit, he couldn't have done it because he would have been too close to get a run. If he would have lost it a little more, he wouldn't have had enough time. It was just one of those deals.

Q</I>: Guys, before this race, did you even allow yourself to think that this was possible that you would be going down the stretch last couple of laps?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I wasn't thinking about the two of us. I really thought I was going to win the race. In my mind I thought I was going to win the race. I just felt like I had a good car, and it just felt like it was time. There in the end, I thought if the yellow doesn't come out, we're going to win this race. I never dreamt about me and Marco, though. We dreamt about it, but we never really thought realistically it would happen.

Q</I>: Michael, did you think that Marco had won the race there?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I went -- oh, I mean literally my hand was out of the cockpit, and I'm like he didn't just win it. Then I'm like calling on the radio, did he win? Did Hornish pass him? I'm like, no. So it was disappointing.

Q</I>: Just for Marco, if you could clarify, how much distance was there between you and the finish line where he made that pass? Can you just give us a guesstimate?

MARCO ANDRETTI: What?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: How close is the finish?

Q</I>: How close was the finish line?

MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't even know the numbers, actually.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Look on TV.

SULLIVAN: Second-closest finish.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Was it?

SULLIVAN: I believe so.

Q</I>: Michael, one of those what-if questions. What if you, if the position was reversed and you had been where Marco was and Hornish was coming like that, what would you have done?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Nothing I could have done. You know, at that point Marco did everything. In fact, he did a great job holding him off down the back straightaway. Then I thought when I saw that, 'Wow, I think he's going to win it.' So I wouldn't have done anything different. He did everything he could do. Crash him, you know, we're not going to crash him.

SULLIVAN: We're going to make this the last question.

Q</I>: Michael, I'm wondering if your son showed that he is even a better driver than you thought or if something surprised you out there today?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, I just knew he was going to surprise a lot of people. He didn't surprise me. He did everything what I thought he could do and, you know, he just did it a little quicker than I thought he would do that.

SULLIVAN: I'm going to give him one more here.

Q</I>: Michael, can you speak to how much better it would have been for the IRL if your son had won this race today?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: That's right, you should tell them that. You should tell Hornish that. (Laughter) It would have been a great story, for sure. I think it's still a great story, but it would have been a better story.

SULLIVAN: History will record that it is a great story, indeed. What a great performance by the two of you. Congratulations, Marco and Michael, on just a splendid month of May.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thank you.

-ims

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti