Marco Andretti's attempt to add a second Indy 500 crown to the family mantle will be unsuccessful. I admire his determination and his positive approach, but there is a monster in our midst, and it's name is Team Penske.
Roger Penske's IndyCar juggernaut has swept the Indy events this season going 4-0, and he also has team member and pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe in this race. Things look good for Penske and bad for everyone else.
The Andrettis have had monumental struggles at Indy. Of the three generations of Andrettis (Marco, Michael and Mario), plus an uncle and a cousin, only Mario has ever captured a victory at the Indy 500.
His lone win came in 1969. But Marco is ready to try an end the family drought. He is decisive in conveying that his desire to win will not be tainted by past family failures, even his own.
He said this to Dave Caldwell of The New York Times when asked how the family's legacy at Indy will affect this race:
“I just think we have to take advantage of this shot.”
It's not just family pressures Andretti is fighting to overcome. In some ways, he carries the American hope as well. No driver from the states has won the Indy 500 since 2006 when Sam Hornish, Jr. raced by Marco in the final 300 yards for the victory.
Even this race carries some bitter memories for Andretti.
Of all the drivers in the field, no one is under more pressure to win than the 24-year-old Andretti. Unfortunately, that is part of the reason why he won't.
Driving with your family's legacy and your country's hopes on your back is difficult enough; defeating the Penske monster at the same time may take a super-human effort and tons of luck.
As much as I'd love to see Marco bring one home for the Andrettis and America, I believe Team Penske has another win in the bag.
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