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Andretti Autosport Looking to Rebound in Texas

by
Kyle Lavigne
| Jun 09, 2011

 

Even though all of the big teams struggled at Indianapolis, none were more troublesome than Andretti Autosport.  After some serious trouble in oval qualifying last year, the Michael Andretti led outfit hoped to regain some of their speed in 2011.

Unfortunately, Indy showed them that they had actually gone backwards. Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti squeaked into the field on Bump Day, while Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway lacked the speed to make the field (Hunter-Reay was later placed in A.J. Foyt’s No. 41 entry that Bruno Junqueira qualified).

In all, it was nothing short of disastrous. To see one of the best-funded teams with some of the most high-profile drivers to run so poorly at the biggest race of the year was stunning.

However, despite that poor showing, the Andretti Autosport squad might be poised to turn it around in Texas. As previously mentioned, they have struggled with qualifying pace and raw speed. However, in terms of race pace, they remain among the series’ best.

Last year, Ryan Hunter-Reay started 22nd at Kansas and finished fifth, and then started 24th at Texas and finished seventh, going from the back to the front twice after suffering pit road problems. Similarly, Marco Andretti finished third at the 2010 Indy 500 after starting 16th and went on to finish third at Texas after starting 10th.

As Hunter-Reay has explained before, they build good “race cars.” What’s more, Texas has been kind to their drivers. Marco Andretti was a contender for the win back in 2008 before a late-race crash (ironically with Hunter-Reay) and has finished fourth and third in the last two runnings. Also, Danica Patrick pushed Ryan Briscoe last year as they battled for the victory in the late stages.

After their well-documented problems at Indy, the Andretti group will have a chance to redeem themselves. It won’t be the first time a team was embarrassed at Indianapolis only the rebound in the immediate races.

In 1995, Team Penske failed to qualify both Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi for that year’s “500.” But, at the next race (Milwaukee that year), Unser Jr. battled Paul Tracy for the win, eventually finishing second. Later that summer, when the series visited Michigan (with a package similar to that of Indianapolis), Unser Jr. again fought for the win, barely losing out to Scott Pruett on the final lap.

As with Andretti Autosport in 2011, Team Penske showed very poorly at Indy in ’95 only to rebound immediately. They will be the example Andretti Autosport will try to emulate.

What’s more, the signing of Allen McDonald, who helped lead Dario Franchitti to an Indy 500 crown and series championship in 2007, will boost their performance. McDonald, who will be an engineer on Mike Conway’s car, is well respected in the paddock and regarded as one of the most intelligent engineers around. His influence can be seen in the upswing of Alex Tagliani and Sam Schmidt Motorsports. McDonald will have a big impact on the all four of the Andretti cars.

Andretti Autosport fell short of expectations during the month of May. They need to rebound after such an abominable performance. This weekend’s Twin Firestone 275’s provide them that opportunity. 

 

12 Comments

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  3. 3 Wimpy 24 Oct
    That's not just the best aswner. It's the bestest answer!
  4. 4 Jeff H. 11 Jun
    OK, we get it. This guy Pete is a Danica basher. As a lifelong Andretti fan & resident of Indy, it was hard to see them all struggle in qualifying at Indy. But, at least Marco & Danica got top 10 finishes. And both of them have had very good results at Indy. It would just be nice to see them kick it up a notch today in Texas. And for Indy Car itself, it needs drivers with star power, like Danica. To lose her to Nascar next year would be a huge loss. Like her or not, alot of people are interested in her. And none of the other women can replace her when it comes to fan popularity. And she's American! And she can really drive! No, AA didn't do as well as expected at Indy, but I'm hopeful they'll get back on track. At least my favorite driver, Dan Wheldon, won the Centennial running at Indy! How can all these unproven, unsuccessful drivers have a ride in the series and he doesn't??? A proven Champion. Wish he could've gotten back with AA this year. Anyway, Marco's my 2nd favorite, continuing my support from Mario to Michael, and now to Marco. And I'm also a Danica fan, and believe her & Marco both have more wins in them. Good Luck at Texas!
  5. 5 Mickeyro 10 Jun
    AA had trouble with speed at 2010 Indy also, not an expert but just seems like lack of engineering talent, certainly have drivers who have shown ability to drive flat out with Danica being one of them. Do not understand Danica bashers as she has shown she can certainly compete on ovals given the right equipment, brings all sorts of publicity for Indy Car and her sponsors and she always brings the heat. Remember the words of that famous philosopher Sputnik Monroe, "Without the heat there are no butts in the seats."
  6. 6 Mikey D. 10 Jun
    RE: David W. This gentleman knows what he's talking about !!!!! Great informative comment about Danica, glad to read a very accurate + positive statement about Danica !!!!!
  7. 7 AMGUY 10 Jun
    Guess Pete wasn't at the 500 Danica didn't get fro 25th to the front on pit stop strategy. AA stinks I watched there  cars get slower and slower the more they worked on them.Danica did a 224.500+ first thing Bump Day. She told them to quit adjusting the car and stick new tires on it. She went out and had the fastest single lap of the day. Came back in and told them not to *&%$ing touch it "I getting out off the car now ,I'll drive it the way it is". "You #%&* with it all week and were back were  we started"  Best thing for her  to do is find a new team, any team since they are all faster than AA. First week back  in Nationwide and a top 10 This lady can drive. Sept 20001 I watched her in a BMW M3 GT car do her very first lap at Sebring and it was faster than the the 2 factory drivers!  Look how much Better TK is doing since he is free of th AA curse!!! Go hunt Brisco down again Danica P1
  8. 8 David W. 10 Jun

    No one who watched last year's races at Texas and Homestead can say Danica Patrick is untalented. 

    At Texas, she battled aggressively with driver after driver to get to the front, fighting her way past each one and beating them all but one Roger Penske driver with a faster car.  Penske, the most respected owner in racing, said after the race, "I take my hat off to Danica.  She was terrific tonight."  And a headline the next day declared, "Danica Goes Toe-to-Toe With The Big Boys." 

     At Homestead, she again fought her way up among the leaders and during the last 19 laps battled lap after lap with Tony Kanaan, wheel to wheel, inches apart, at close to 230 mph, finally faking him out and darting down below him to cross the finish line a nose ahead of him for 2nd place, beating every driver in the field except one Ganassi driver with a faster car.  "She beat me fair and square," TK said afterward. 

    Danica is as popular as she is because she is the ultimate underdog: a pretty little girl who straps on one of those 650 horsepower beasts and races around the track at speeds above 220 mph, in equally fast traffic, against the most aggressive of drivers in one of the most macho sports in the world.  The contrast between our traditional image of the pretty little girl and our witnessing what this pretty little girl does for a living is what fascinates fans.  This little girl has guts, and let only those who are capable of doing what she does on the track speak against her.

  9. 9 Pete W 09 Jun
    Soooo happy to have Pippa and Simona upcoming to replace the over-hyped Danica.  Those 2 ladies are real racers, not just media machines.  Danica has seldom been a racer, just a driver. Racers actually need to pass other racers on the track and not through good team pit strategy!!  The future of Indycar is so much brighter.  Bye bye Danica. 
  10. 10 Pete Whitman 09 Jun
    Long time fan (40+ years).  First time Indycar Nation member. Loved the good old days of Champ Car, etc with interesting cars and better drivers.  Look forward to the future od Indycar without these boring spec cars and without the over-hyped under-talented Danica! The past 10 years have been sooo tough to endure!
  11. 11 Pete Whitman 09 Jun
    Long time fan (40+ years).  First time Indycar Nation member. Loved the good old days of Champ Car, etc with interesting cars and better drivers.  Look forward to the future od Indycar without these boring spec cars and without the over-hyped under-talented Danica! The past 10 years have been sooo tough to endure!
  12. 12 Mikey D. 09 Jun
    Danica led 10 laps at INDY,if not for 2 untimely yellows would have Won . The Andretti Team will do whatever it takes to Win ! Go Danica +Team Andretti !!!!!!!

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