5.31.2014 (via Daily Tribune) – Marco Andretti smiled when he was reminded that Honda engines were in both cars that won IndyCar races on Belle Isle last year. “We have to keep it up,” the driver of the No. 25 Snapple Honda said.
The game within the game will be part of the drama this weekend when the IndyCar Series stages two points races in Detroit, corporate home of Honda rival Chevrolet, which also happens to be the title sponsor of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
“We sure are,” Andretti said when asked if drivers are aware of the competition between the engine makers.
Andretti, 27, wore a golf shirt embroidered with logos of sponsors, Honda included, when he signed autographs and chatted with fans at a Kroger store in Shelby Township on Thursday.
The Pennsylvania native’s appearance represented calm before the racing storm that begins Friday with two practice sessions that precede 70-lap races Saturday and Sunday on the 2.3-mile Belle Isle street course.
“Track position, qualifying, pit stops: We need to execute everything,” Andretti said. “I need to get the monkey off my back. I need a win.”
Andretti came to Michigan feeling good about his driving and his season, even if he does thirst for a first-place finish. He took third last Sunday in the Indianapolis 500, which was won by Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay. Andretti led 20 laps in the 98th running of the 500, which paid double points, and posted his third top-10 finish in five races this season.
“As much as I was disappointed with not winning the Indy 500, you have to look at the positives,” the grandson of open-wheel racing legend Mario Andretti and son of two-time Belle Isle winner Michael Andretti said.
“It was like two podium (top three) finishes because of the double points,” Marco said.