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IndyCar Series: SunTrust Indy Challenge

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  SunTrust Indy Challenge

IndyCar Series: SunTrust Indy Challenge

Marco Andretti
June 24, 2006


THE MODERATOR: Joined also in the media center, Marco, you finished fourth tonight, terrific race for you. This place notoriously is not easy on rookie drivers and you impressed right out of the box on practice Thursday. Take us through your race?
MARCO ANDRETTI: It definitely was an eventful one. But also, I think I had a lot of fun. My car was good enough where I was, you know, not scaring myself once a lap, once every five laps. You know, it's better than Texas, for sure.
No, the MIC boys did a great job all weekend. We had a great second stint, you know, I think there I know -- I mean, I was turned down on fuel as well and I knew that we could just settle in.
You know, unfortunately, we lost a couple on the last pit stop, and then from then, we just never got it back. And also, my race was almost ended on the exit of Turn 2 on I think 20 laps to go, around there, another lucky save.
THE MODERATOR: What exactly happened there? I know you talked a little on TV but what exactly happened.
MARCO ANDRETTI: I sort of got loose, same thing from Indy, but I think worse. I just got in behind somebody, I forget who it was. It was when Vitor passed me. I don't know if I would have had the car to hold him.
Unfortunately, I didn't get one break in traffic in the last stint which was a bummer. That's the thing is maybe if I wouldn't have had that moment, maybe I could have held him off, but, you know, as everybody saw, he was coming, so, you know, he had a great race.
THE MODERATOR: Now that you've been through a race here once and it's so unique, can you just sum it up and describe it, crazy and insane, what's it like?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I just think it's fun. It's a real driver/engineer track. You really have to -- Texas definitely came down to a car handling track but there, your car is going to be faster and here it's not. It's harder for a driver to put in a quick lap and it's harder for a driver to be fast at a place like this.

Q. Were you concerned with fuel the last 20 laps or so, or was that not a factor?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Not an issue. No, we actually had fuel to burn on the last yellow.

Q. How many close calls did you have? I saw several where it looked like you banged wheels a couple times with people on 3 and 4?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't think you can get through an IRL race without having a close call, you know, but that's what makes it fun, I guess. You try to put yourself in the best position possible, but yet, you need to take advantage of the traffic because of the track position. It's very hard to pass here, but I think it's fun to play the traffic and that's when I had some of my close calls, but I can't give you a number, but there was a few.

Q. A lot of people say patience is a key at this track. Was that a key for you this evening?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Definitely, definitely. I mean, if I was, you know, any more aggressive on the last couple laps, I probably would have been into the wall in that, and it definitely took patience because you needed to drive to the edge of the tire, and it seems like if you overstep that edge, it's a big moment, it's a big scare. So you sort of need to take a couple steps back and drive to the edge of the tire. I was definitely able to do that in the second stint while turned down on fuel; and that's the best circumstance, and when you're keeping track position. But, you know, like Vitor said, I mean, the car can always be better, but definitely it was pretty decent.

Q. I've heard several drivers, listening to the radios tonight, they couldn't remember who they should be mad at because it changed so often, is that how you felt about the race?
MARCO ANDRETTI: No, no, I was just having fun. I wasn't mad at anybody.
THE MODERATOR: Great racing, congratulations.

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