Andretti Autosport dominates Sunday Indianapolis 500 practice session

Robert Laberge

Andretti Autosport captured five of the top eight spots in IndyCar Series practice for the Indianapolis 500.

Marco Andretti was fourth-fastest in Sunday Indianapolis 500 practice with a 222 mph lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leaving him somewhat antsy, believing his car to be slightly off pace behind his Andretti Autosport teammates.

And that's partially true.

After all, the three drivers in front of him also drive for Michael Andretti, led by Carlos Muñoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso. Muñoz paced Sunday practice just 24 hours after passing his rookie test and led the afternoon session by going 223 mph on a slightly cool, windy day.

Andretti Autosport claimed five of the top eight spots on Sunday, with IndyCar wins leader James Hinchcliffe taking eighth.

Marco's early disappointment is the pressure of having the family name at the Indianapolis 500. Mario Andretti won the race only once, in his fifth attempt in 1969 and failed to win again for the remainder of his career despite several dominant performances.

That same luck has seemingly passed down to his son Michael (who went winless at Indy) and grandson Marco as well. Most recently, Marco had the dominant car early on in last year's race, leading 59 of the first 90 laps before dropping off the pace and hitting the wall on lap 187.

Marco is already thinking of making up for last year's misfortune and knows that Andretti Autosport will give him every opportunity to win this year's Greatest Spectacle in Racing. While hoping to get a little more speed out of his car, he's still pleased with how the month has progressed.

"Our car is not quite on pace with my teammates so far," Andretti said following Sunday's practice session. "But I'm not too worried about it this early in the month. We put in some good laps and got a lot out of today's practice. We're working on some things trying to find a good setup that will put us up front."

Andretti Autosport has been the dominant team of the season thus far, parlaying the 2012 championship into wins in three of the first four races to start the season. Hinchcliffe has won twice, at St. Petersburg and Sao Paulo, Brazil, with Hunter-Reay picking up his first win at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

Meanwhile, Marco may be the most consistent of all the Andretti Autosport drivers thus far, with the third-generation driver sitting second in the championship standings just 13 markers behind Takuma Sato.

Despite all the success to start the season, Hunter-Reay says the Indianapolis 500 is a reset on the campaign -- everything starts over.

"With these cars, the way IndyCar is now, you have no idea what's been done what in the offseason," Hunter-Reay said. "To tell you the truth, what we saw last year from Ganassi and Honda, you had no idea that was going to happen on race day. I think qualifying will be one show, then the race. You have no idea what anybody has until you get there."

The complete times from Sunday's practice session can be found below (duplicates represent T-cars - team backups):

  1. Carlos Munoz (R) 223.023
  2. Ryan Hunter-Reay 222.825
  3. EJ Viso 222.523
  4. Marco Andretti 222.485
  5. AJ Allmendinger (R) 221.279
  6. Ed Carpenter 220.970
  7. Josef Newgarden 220.920
  8. James Hinchcliffe 220.907
  9. Charlie Kimball 220.633
  10. Alex Tagliani 220.248
  11. Dario Franchitti 219.873
  12. Charlie Kimball 219.778
  13. Tony Kanaan 219.636
  14. Oriol Servia 219.283
  15. Takuma Sato 219.082
  16. Ryan Briscoe 218.900
  17. Dario Franchitti 218.842
  18. JR Hildebrand 218.501
  19. Scott Dixon 218.214
  20. Scott Dixon 218.143
  21. Helio Castroneves 217.923
  22. Ryan Briscoe 217. 773
  23. Will Power 217.595
  24. Sebastien Bourdais 217.378
  25. Simona de Silvestro 216.938
  26. Helio Castroneves 216.620
  27. Simon Pagenaud 216.308
  28. Sebastian Saavedra 215.977
  29. Michel Jourdain Jr. 215.478
  30. James Jakes 215.285
  31. Graham Rahal 214.092

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