A New Andretti On The Rise

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"Second place is nothing." With a statement like that immediately after "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", it's clear that Marco Andretti has risen to the top for reasons other than his family name. A 19-year-old native of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Andretti was merely a car-length away on May 28 from doing what no teenager has done in the history of the IRL IndyCar® Series: win a race. The stage was not a small one, for it was before over 250,000 fans watching live and millions watching on TV in perhaps the most famous race in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Though Andretti was edged by Sam Hornish Jr. at the stripe in the second-closest finish in race history, one thing was clear about the rookie: a star had been born. Marco comes to MIS this weekend hoping to build upon the remarkable record of Andretti family success in the Irish Hills. In 31 Champ Car starts from 1968 to 1994, his grandfather Mario piled up three wins and 16 top-five finishes. In an incredible eight-race stretch from 1980 to 1984, Mario finished no lower than fourth place in any race at MIS. Marco's father, Michael, has been solid as well, with two victories and eight top-10s in 21 starts. The eldest of Michael's three children, Marco has raced since the tender age of nine. Throughout the beginning of his career, he primarily participated in kart racing, moving to cars for 2003. After racking up eight first place finishes, he won both the Rookie of the Year award and the championship of the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Eastern Series Championship. 2004 was another banner year for the young Andretti, as he racked up 17 victories on his way to the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Southern Series Championship, the Skip Barber National Series Championship, and the Formula TR Series Championship. 2005 saw a move to the IRL Infiniti Pro Series, where he won three poles and three events in six entries, setting the stage for a breakthrough campaign in 2006. To say the future is bright for the growth of the next branch on the historical Andretti family tree would be an understatement. With his start in the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March at 19 years, 13 days, Andretti became the second-youngest starter in the history of the IndyCar Series. A win at Michigan this weekend would make him one of the only teenagers ever to taste victory in the Irish Hills, and it would be a great start to the creation of his own legacy.

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