(photo courtesy marcoandretti.com)
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series was supposed to be all about “the big two” for wins and championships. “The big two” are the teams of Penske Racing and Team Target Chip Ganassi. It did start out as just that. Penske drivers won the first three races and Penske and/or Ganassi drivers have won six of the first seven races in 2010.
But over the last four races there is an underdog sneaking into the fracas, that underdog is none other than Andretti Autosport. With Andretti Autosport’s move into the championship fight, there appears to be a little worry inserted into the minds of Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi.
Marco Andretti, one of the AA drivers has stated it simply, “The reason that we have been getting it right, is just that we have been getting it right, no magic.”
The lone “non-big two” race winner this year was Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. He got that victory at the Long Beach street race. After that race, the series moved to oval tracks and it has been there that Andretti teams and drivers have been moving to top-five finishes en masse.
Andretti has been the hottest of the team’s drivers. He is heading to this weekend’s Iowa Corn 250 in Newton after consecutive third-place finishes at Indianapolis and Texas.
“Yeah, confidence is good,””he said during a phone call this week. “”With the team, some good stuff’s been happening. We’ve been getting some good results. And we’re doing nothing different, really. I know as a driver, I have been doing nothing different. We’ve just been doing it right the last couple weekends. Making a couple sensible changes during race weekend. And, I’ve had good cars underneath me the last couple of races and that’s been a lot of fun.”
Andretti Autosport had a lot of people wondering what would happen with the team when the season started. Team owner Michael Andretti bought out his two partners and did some restructuring.
“He’s a guy with just a good feel. He knows how to manage a team,” Marco Andretti said. “He’s a very personable person who is good at talking to people and settling problems within the team and that creates a lot of camaraderie. He has a good feel for, like, crew member placement and just has a good feel for things.”
Gone from Andretti Autosport under Anderson, Marco said, are “crazy setups”. Setups, he said, which in the past have put the cars on such a thin edge that, “I didn’t even know how to drive those cars.”
So it has been back to the basics this year and the result has been progress on the track. The Indianapolis 500 was evidence of the vast improvement from within the team.
Andretti says he feels good about continued improvement this weekend in Iowa.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!