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Indy Racing League Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Racing League

Indy Racing League Media Conference

Marco Andretti
February 21, 2007

THE MODERATOR: (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: Waiting. It's definitely too long for any driver to be out of the seat, let alone a rookie last year. I was going crazy. I just needed to drive something. That didn't help me much because the driving style over there is totally different.
I did a test here I believe on the road course in the ALMS car, which is good fun. That's about it for driving. I mean, I've just been laying low, training as much as I can, which is never enough. There's nothing like being in the seat. I just can't wait for a couple hours to get going here and then the season.
I can't wait to go back to a racetrack that I've already raced at in an IndyCar. I think it's going to help me tremendously.
THE MODERATOR: (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm a competitor, so I look at it like it could have been a lot better. Could have been a lot worse, too. I think the NYC car was up front and a potential winner in more than a few races. Everybody could have had a better year. I don't look at it like that.
Yeah, for a 19-year-old rookie, I was definitely pleased, but more satisfied when I got the win. Yeah, I'm happy. I knew it could be done. I was just kind of relieved once we won it that, All right, now I have that burden off my shoulders, now we can go start getting greedy and win more.

Q. Could you detail what your goals are for this year? Do you want to win four, the championship? How do you set the level?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I want to win every race I compete in. No, I think what's realistic is a championship. I mean, I really do. People thought I was crazy when I said, 'I think I can win the Indy 500' before the race. I'm not going to say it to make me look good or anything like that. We're going to find out more today how competitive we're going to be on the bigger ovals.
I think it's pretty realistic with the team we have this year, it's going to be pretty strong. A championship is one of my goals. There's one thing left to do at Indy, as well. I'm here to win this year.

Q. What has been done on the team over the year to try to chassis-wise catch up to what Penske and Ganassi had last year? For most of the last year they were a step ahead of everybody else.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, nothing I can speak about obviously. You'll have to speak to the engineers for that. I show up and they give me the test plan, then we go drive.
I mean, I just have that confidence in my team, Kyle Moyer and the guys. You know Andretti Green will be up front, not only because of the drivers, but the car setup and everything on the shorter ovals and road courses now. We're going to find out later today, I mean, then I can talk to you.
THE MODERATOR: (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: We'll whip her into shape pretty quick, like they did me. I had a bit of an advantage because I drove for Andretti Green sort of that year before. I knew the guys like brothers before we were teammates. I just saw how the camaraderie worked, how they reacted with each other.
Danica now, the only thing is she's not used to having three people to lean on. Like I was saying yesterday, I sometimes will catch her, like it's her, you can rely on us for certain things, and she's just not used to it. It's only good for her. I'm sure she's going to benefit us, as well. Hopefully we can learn from her, too.

Q. When you look back to last May, do you ever think if there was anything you could have done differently that might have gotten you to the checkered flag first?
MARCO ANDRETTI: No. I mean, my thinking hasn't changed since I got out of the car. A million things during the race that could have won me the race. You can't look back as a driver. I wouldn't have changed anything the whole day really. I mean, the last couple laps, more importantly, there's nothing I could have done. Just like he blew by my dad and just like he blew by Bryan when he was lapping him, just nothing I could do except crash us. There was no way I would do that.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: For me, you're not supposed to feel any emotion in the car except just the adrenaline. Yeah, I mean, you start to notice all the cameras and stuff. I'm like, Oh, my God, this can really happen. Obviously we got the questions and everything, 'What if it came down to you two?' before the race. I said, Yeah, it would be a fairytale, but, no, I'm not going to let him win the thing. And that's what happened.
Unfortunately, there was a third party involved.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: Not at this age. If you would have asked me that question last year, even the beginning, I didn't know. Spring training last year, I just kept an open mind, I had no idea how I was going to stack up. You just sort of gain that quiet confidence, not really in the first three races last year, but sort of you have the month of May last year to sort of get my act together, you could say. Having that month was huge for me.
Then obviously I knew it, to myself, that we can be a potential winner in that race. I think we showed it after that, which gives you a little more confidence. This year I think I'm ready mentally, and we'll see what happens.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: It's hard to answer. I think any driver needs to believe in themselves. Right now I would, in the same circumstances, put myself up against anybody. I think that's how any driver has to be. I learned, even from doing the F1 testing, never doubt yourself. I catch myself doubting myself sometimes, and then we'll find a problem with the car. I'm like, Thank God.
No, I mean, there's no way you can go into a race down on yourself.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: All right. It's not that interesting. I just got talked out of buying a Ferrari yesterday from my dad and my business manager right here. It was a good call by them. I just couldn't get rid of my M6. Tomas was going to buy it, but then he didn't.

Q. Marco, can you talk about your F1 test, what your thoughts were as you returned home on the future of this?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of fun. I felt very welcomed by the team. Those cars, like I said before, you have to drive them 180 degrees different than you do here. Mainly you can brake from the top of seventh gear to a hairpin in the length of this room or even shorter. It does a number on your neck and everything like that. It had power steering, so it wasn't very physical.
But mainly because of the traction control is why it was so different from these cars. I was basically trying to carry too much speed through the corners initially just because that's how you drive these cars. Those front tires wouldn't take it. You basically have to 'V' the corner, just get in as deep as you can, get it turned, and be straight when you go to power. I was trying to go to power back there like you would in an IndyCar. The traction control wouldn't take it.
It's just different. But I had a lot of fun. The rain actually helped me drive through the traction control.

Q. What have Gil and Nick Fry told you about your future options?
MARCO ANDRETTI: They've been brilliant, very accommodating, stuff like that. Future options, I have no idea yet. They just invited me twice, that's all I know. I try to just not even think about it really because I know where I am for the next couple years and I know what my goals are. If my mind isn't 110% thinking about what I need to be doing, then there's no way I'm going to be able to achieve those goals. I'm just trying to keep my head in these next couple years, then we'll think about it.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, absolutely, for a lot of reasons. Mainly I have a trainer in Indy. I'm just getting a place here to hang out with TK, who is the beast of this field of working out. Just trying to keep up with those guys. Even the F1 guys, they train, they have physios that know exactly what a driver needs.
But, like I said, you could be in the best shape of your life, and I was running seven miles a day, I was out of the seat for six months, I get in the car at Daytona and after the first run you're breathing heavy. There's nothing like driving. Now I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't know. Before my birthday, March 8 to the 12, I'm going to go to Aspen to just sort of do nothing. I'm not allowed to ski. I'm not going to do that. Kind of just turn my phones off for the last four days - the calm before the storm. I'm just going to hang out, finish my place here, we'll be ready.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm happy. Right after the checkered flag last year I knew I was going to push him because he came so close again. I knew I was going to push him from that day to sort it out again. And he did. We just had to wait for the sponsorship.
So, I don't know, I'm happy he's back for sure. I learned so much from the guy. It should be another -- like I said, he came so close. He knows what he needs for those races, so I just try to learn from him. You know he's always going to be up front at the end.

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