Indianapolis 500 Practice: Mario Andretti has no regrets, enjoying family team's success

Michael Hickey

Mario Andretti is the most-decorated American racer of all time. Despite that designation, he only won the Indianapolis 500 once. Despite the countless mechanical failures that plagued him late in his career, Andretti feels nothing but joy when looking back at his time in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Mario Andretti has no regrets about his inability to capture more than just one victory in the Indianapolis 500.

Arguably America's most-famous racecar driver, Andretti won his only Borg Warner Trophy in 1969 in his fifth attempt and spent the next 25 years trying to get another one. His defeats, which have seemingly been passed on to his son Michael and grandson Marco has even taken on the dubious distinction of the ‘Andretti Curse.'

Despite the trials and tribulations, Indianapolis still holds a special place for the eldest Andretti and is the racing site of some of Andretti's most-cherished memories. Beyond his 1969, his 1987 month of May is also high of his personal achievements list.

"It's a collective situation for me," Andretti said on Monday prior to IndyCar Series practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I dominated this race a couple of times - in '87, especially. Those are incredibly satisfying moments. But I've had many here. It's mostly positive place for me even though I didn't win as many times as I hoped. But I was certainly in a position to do that if I didn't have so many mechanical failures."

Instead of pining over what could have been, Andretti is spending his month of May near his son's team -- Andretti Autosport. Team Andretti enters qualifying week the heavy favorites to win with one of its five cars and has led both full days of practice with drivers Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti.

Andretti believes the team is feeding off the momentum for last year's championship with Ryan Hunter-Reay and has parlayed that into continued success this season. The former Formula 1 World Champion more than understands what that kind of momentum can mean for a team moving towards the most important race of the season.

"They started out in the best possible way," Andretti said. "That's what you strive for. To come here with that momentum, having the guys in the top of the points is always good. This is again what you work for. There's nothing like coming here with that really positive attitude."

Marco Andretti enters qualifying week for the Indianapolis 500 second in the championship standings just 13 points behind Takuma Sato. Teammates James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and EJ Viso are fourth, sixth and 11th respectively.

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