IndyCar - Iowa Winner Leads Andretti Team At Fast One-Mile Oval
LOUDON, Aug. 10, 2011: Marco Andretti is anxious for another short oval race in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
In his last oval event at Iowa Speedway, the third-generation star put on a spectacular charge to take the lead and fight off Tony Kanaan to the finish line for his second IndyCar Series career victory.
Andretti, driving the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, led a total of 42 laps on the tight oval track and had to work his way through a tight field to secure the advantage with just 18 laps remaining.
The popular Nazareth, Pa., racer returns to the small oval action this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the IZOD IndyCar Series makes its return to one-mile surface for Sunday's MoveThatBlock.com 225. Andretti's father, Michael, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Andretti Autosport, finished second twice at NHMS in the CART Series.
The one-mile oval will be a new one for the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, as no current competitor in the 26-car field has raced at New Hampshire previously.
Andretti leads the Andretti Autosport squad into the Northeastern racing plant in an effort to jump into the top-five in the 2011 point standings, as Marco ranks sixth in the current points, just 10 markers from the top-five. After the grueling come-from-run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last Sunday where he started 19th and placed seventh, Andretti seeks another sensational showing back on the ovals.
Joining Andretti in his team's driving contingent is veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay, third at Mid-Ohio in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda machine. Hunter-Reay, after a slow start, has been moving up the standings rapidly and now is just 12 points from the top-ten. Hunter-Reay is no stranger to short oval racing, having dominated at the Milwaukee Mile several years ago when he led every lap in the 250-mile race.
Danica Patrick, the only woman to win in the IZOD IndyCar Series, also is primed for a strong performance at New Hampshire after a top-five finish at Milwaukee this year. The driver of the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry is a crowd favorite who hopes to have the NHMS fans on their feet in Sunday's 225-lap main event.
Long Beach Grand Prix winner Mike Conway put on a tremendous drive last Sunday at Mid-Ohio, but the personable British driver was forced to retire from the race with 22 laps to go with a mechanical problem. Conway, who wheeled the No. 27 Team @FollowAndretti Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, had vaulted from 17th to sixth at the Honda Indy 200 before ending his day.
Sunday's MoveThatBlock.com 225 is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. EDT and will be televised live on ABC-TV.
MARCO ANDRETTI, #26 TEAM ALL NATURAL SNAPPLE CAR
"I'm looking forward to Loudon this weekend. It's always nice to be on a new track and we're usually strong on the short ovals. Hopefully the Snapple car will roll off the truck competitive. I'd love to come away from the weekend inside the top-five in overall points and challenging for the Oval Championship."
MIKE CONWAY, #27 TEAM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CAR
"I'm looking forward to Loudon. I've never been to the track before so hopefully we can get up to speed quickly on Thursday. The team has been competitive on the short ovals this year, so hopefully we can keep that going and pull out a good result. I look forward to seeing that part of the U.S. too. We had some bad luck at Mid-Ohio. I hope we can turn it around this weekend."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, #28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA CAR
"I have been looking forward to going to Loudon for some time now. It is a race I attended as a kid and an IndyCar fan, when I was 12 years old. I have really enjoyed the Milwaukee track over the years and I have had some great success there. Hopefully the two tracks are pretty similar. They are both short, flat, one-mile tracks. I'm looking forward to driving that kind of track, where you really have to pedal it and where it is not going to be flat out. The Andretti Autosport team has shown that they have a very competitive package on the short ovals this year. Hopefully that will translate into a good showing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, especially in our first year back to the track, with the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda machine."
DANICA PATRICK, #7 TEAM GoDaddy.com CAR
"I'm looking forward to this weekend's race in Loudon. I was at the track last season in the stock car, so I'm hoping my experience with the track will be helpful in some ways. It's also helpful to at least know what the track is like heading into it even if the two styles of cars are completely different. We get a great deal of track time before qualifying so I think the GoDaddy.com car will be strong."