The Conundrum That is Marco Andretti …

Posted: May 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Marco Andretti Walter Kuhn

By: Jeff Majeske — Special Correspondent to Speedway Sightings

A fair chunk of Sunday afternoon was spent assembling a kitchen island for my wife. Of course, I would have rather have been at the track on a beautiful and busy opening day.

But with Mother’s Day and a trip to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis coming up, a bit of domestic engineering was in order.

Fortunately, I was able to watch and listen to the feed from the track, which is much appreciated by us Indianapolis ex-patriates. While wrenching on this kitchen island, pretending it were an Offy, I noted the progress of Marco Andretti up the speed charts.

The third-generation driver wound up third-fastest, behind Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves. Each had a lap above 226 mph; Ed Carpenter took the pole last year with an average above 231 mph. The entire list of Sunday’s practice speeds is here.

Of course, we’re talking about practice and specifically aero kit testing, so drawing any conclusions is a risky proposition.

Still, it reinforces the notion that Andretti, often lackluster at other venues, gets around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pretty well.

Here’s the data of his entire IndyCar career, according to racing-reference.info:

  • Average start: 11.1
  • Average finish: 11.7
  • Wins: Two in 155 races over nine-plus years
  • Poles: Four
  • Laps led: 930

Andretti’s Indianapolis 500 stats:

  • Average start: 9.8
  • Average finish: 11.3
  • Wins: Zero (thanks to Sam Hornish Jr.)
  • Poles: Zero
  • Laps led: 141

Not much difference on the surface, right?

A closer look, though, shows seven top-10 starts in nine races and six top-10 finishes, including five in the top four.

I’m not sure how much of a lift an Andretti win in the Indianapolis 500 would give to the event, the sport and the series, but it would be fun to find out. 

Photo credit: Walter Kuhn/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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