ANDRETTI CLAIMS VICTORY IN INAUGURAL LIBERTY CHALLENGE INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, June 18, 2005 -- Marco Andretti made it 2-for-2 on road/street courses in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Andretti, the grandson of racing legend Mario...
ANDRETTI CLAIMS VICTORY IN INAUGURAL LIBERTY CHALLENGE
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, June 18, 2005 -- Marco Andretti made it 2-for-2 on road/street courses in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series.
Andretti, the grandson of racing legend Mario Andretti and son of IRL IndyCar® Series team owner Michael Andretti, won the inaugural Liberty Challenge on June 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was his second win in three starts this season.
"I had the car to do it, that's for darn sure," said Andretti, who also won the first non-oval event at the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April from the pole. "(Engineer) Tony (Cicale) and the guys set up an awesome car. Like I was telling them, I never had a better in my career yet, so far. Right to the flag, it was consistent and it showed with the lap times."
Andretti's No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone was challenged only once during the 25-lap event. Jeff Simmons, who started third, took the lead on the opening corner, but missed the second corner, handing the lead back to pole sitter Andretti.
>From there, Andretti pulled away for his family's first win at Indianapolis since his grandfather won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969.
"It's big, but to me right now it's another racetrack until I get on the oval in the IndyCar (Series)," said Andretti, who is running a partial schedule in the IRL's top ladder series.
Wade Cunningham recorded his fourth consecutive second-place finish and assumed the series point lead. Cunningham, a rookie from New Zealand, leads Travis Gregg, 227-217, with eight races remaining.
Rookies Chris Festa, Nick Bussell and Futaba Freedom 100 winner Jaime Camara rounded out the top five.
"Once (Andretti) had broken away, I just couldn't catch him," Cunningham said. "Once he got that big lead, it was all over, and I struggled for the rest of the race just with car balance. The car stuck together and the team did a great job."
ESPN2 coverage of the Liberty Challenge will be televised at 5 p.m. (EDT) June 21.
Tickets: Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.