Mario Andretti is (obviously, right?) the greatest IndyCar racer ever. [Aside: Yes, it is hyperbole day for me. Thanks for asking.] And you have to think that, like all great athletes, when an important event in his former sport rolls around that he gets a little nostalgic.
You would be correct, actually. And Andretti talked about that in a recent interview with 1070 the Fan in Indy, as well as missing being behind the wheel, looking back on his career and Marco Andretti’s chances at this year’s Indy.
Looking back on his career:
“Am I thankful for everything that’s happened in my career? You bet. No question about it, I’ve had opportunities that I was able to take advantage of and I’ve certainly satisfied myself in so many different ways by just being able to drive in different disciplines with the stock cars, with sports cars, Formula One, Indy cars, midgets, sprint cars, all that sort of thing.”
On missing being behind the wheel:
“Oh absolutely. I love the sport so much. I stayed in it as long as I could, obviously, and I still wanted to be competitive, I was so afraid that I would overstay it. But, like I said, I tried to get the last ounce out of me until 1994, and then when I got out I raced four more times at Lemond, where actually we won, finished second in ’95, and now and then I just get to get in a car to mess around a little bit, but nevertheless I have to say it’s tough to stand by the sidelines doing exactly nothing.”
On Marco Andretti’s chances in the Indy 500, starting in the middle of row three:
“It’s certainly close enough to the front. If you have a car, you’re going to be able to demonstrate it. I always said with 500 miles the closer to the front the better because you’d like the least amount of traffic and also potential problems. But I think he’s certainly in a position to be able to get it done if he likes the car on race day. And if he likes the car he sure knows how to drive it, he has proven that. He likes that place and he knows how to lead it and he knows how to get it done. As I said, I just hope that they have the car the way that he needs it to be.”