NTT INDYCAR Series
Marco Andretti: ‘We Really Need To Win’
Completing over 95 percent of the laps last season, Marco Andretti proved he knows how to pace himself through a race. He also knows how to be successful along the way with 10 top-10 finishes last season.
With the success, there’s a big piece missing along the way – a win, as Andretti has been unable to reach victory lane since winning at Iowa Speedway in 2011.
“That is definitely what is missing in my camp. That is my answer actually,” he said. “Our consistency is not terrible. We finished every race except Pocono last year. But we really need to win, we really do.”
One of the tracks that could produce a victory for Andretti is Phoenix International Raceway. The series will make their first trip back to the oval since 2005. Due to making his first IndyCar start in 2006, this year’s event will mark his first race at Phoenix.
“I love this place,” he commented. “I always have. I even drove the old configuration back when I started, which makes me feel pretty old. That was like 2005. Yeah, I mean, a lot of fun so far. Really it’s a place that makes you work. In the middle of turn one, in particular, it gets pretty heavy.”
The fans have campaigned for a return to Phoenix to have another short oval on the schedule, with the Arizona track being 1.022 miles in length. With the date set, the question remains now whether it’ll produce good racing for the fans. There are concerns that it will be a one-groove track, but the drivers mentioned otherwise following the test session.
“I think there’s a little room in one and two to get some clean air up high,” Andretti said. “It would be a little risky to do that in three and four. You could catch the right front in the marbles.
“The problem is the exit of one. You could run sort of maybe two wide entry to mid. But it tightens up pretty quick at the exit. The guy on the bottom is going to come up. He can’t hold the car on the bottom.”
Andretti added the opportunity to make passes may come as the tires fall off halfway through a stint, as there is “dirty air,” which drivers can use to make passes.
Whether Andretti has success at Phoenix may depend on whether his manufacturer Honda has closed the gap to Chevrolet. The Bowtie dominated last season taking four of the top-five spots in the standings and winning 10 of the 16 races. Honda has since gone to work during the off-season, developing a new aero kit for their cars, in hopes of closing the gap.
“I still don’t know what to expect in the speedway format yet,” Andretti said following the first of four test sessions at Phoenix International Raceway. “Hopefully, we close the gaps elsewhere. It’s still a little bit early in this test to even tell you that because we don’t have the car exactly balanced yet.”
If the preliminary session was an indication, they might not have done enough as Honda placed only one driver in the top-seven. That driver, though, was Andretti with the fifth quickest lap.
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