There was no doubt Marco Andretti wanted another crack at the Menards Infiniti Pro Series after winning his debut at the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg on April 3rd under the most strenuous set of circumstances. Shepherded by his father ...
There was no doubt Marco Andretti wanted another crack at the Menards Infiniti Pro Series after winning his debut at the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg on April 3rd under the most strenuous set of circumstances.
Shepherded by his father Michael, grandfather Mario (attending his first non-Indy 500 IRL race for this purpose) and the Zen-master of melding good racers Tony Cicale, was there any doubt this 18-year-old would succeed in his first MIPS race?
Well, yeah. Marco overcame winning and losing and regaining pole position, losing his best friend in an auto accident, relinquishing the race lead with a dumb move and regaining it with a masterful one reminiscent of his famous grandfather.
Afterward Andretti indicated he'd like to be back to the Indy Racing League's ladder series, most likely for the USGP weekend on June 18th; Marco also said he'd like to race at The Milwaukee Mile, the seminal oval where Mario (4 wins) and Michael Andretti (5) cut their oval racing teeth.
Today those desires were fulfilled and augmented, as Andretti intends to contest five additional Menards Infiniti Pro Series races in his #26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone racer.
He's planning to race in the Futaba Freedom 100 on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on May 22; in support of F1 June 18; at The Milwaukee Mile July 24; on the 2.26-mile Infineon Raceway Sears Point road course on August 28 and finally, on the historic Watkins Glen International circuit September 25.
"Obviously I'm pretty excited about everything," the soon-to-be Notre Dame grad said. "Getting the opportunity to run at Indy twice in one month is pretty unbelievable." Andretti never thought the race in St. Petersburg "would go as well as it did for us, but it did."
Working out of the Keith Duesenberg Racing garage, one that has brought home three victories in 29 starts, Marco Andretti and Andretti Green Racing put their own stamp on the operation with Cicale calling the shots to victory for Marco at St Petersburg.
In addition to his five Menards Infiniti Pro Series starts, Marco Andretti is entered in the Star Mazda Series with the intent of winning that crown. He finished seventh at Road Atlanta last weekend against many of the same driver's he has raced against in karts.
His father doesn't think Andretti's being rushed through the process: "This is a great opportunity for Marco and exciting for the whole family," who were all on-hand to cheer him on in Florida. "He was so impressive in the way that he raced in St. Petersburg with all the pressure and expectations on him," Michael explained.
"I just think it's good for him to get as much experience as he can right now and running five different courses like this over the rest of the season in these cars is going to be really good for him."
Marco Andretti has said all along he wants to drive in all types of competition and aspires to race for his father in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. It should be a busy summer for young Andretti, but surely one he'll savor. "I have a passion for racing and the joy of winning," Marco declared.
Does that sound familiar?