As the 2012 Indianapolis 500 reached its halfway point with Marco Andretti having led 59 of the first 100 laps, one couldn't help but wonder if this was the year the fabled "Andretti Curse" was finally going to come to an end.
For the first time since 1969 when his grandfather Mario claimed victory, it appeared an Andretti was going to win the biggest open-wheel race in the world.
All the near-misses, poor luck and years of heartbreak and disappointment by his grandfather and father, Michael – who has led the most laps in Speedway history without winning – would disappear and be nothing but a footnote in the record books.
However, as the sun continued to beat down on the venerable track and the temperatures continued soar, Andretti's time at the front of the field came to an end as he lost the handle of his car and slid to the back half of the top 10.
All was not lost though, as Andretti still had a chance at the victory as the 500-mile race moved to its conclusion. Thanks to numerous cautions which continually bunched the field together, the 25-year-old driver was afforded continued opportunities to work his way back to the front and maybe remove that 800-pound gorilla off his family's collective back.
But the "Andretti Curse" wasn't just going to go quietly away and instead, 13 laps from the finish Andretti's car jumped out from underneath him as he was diving underneath Oriol Servia heading into Turn 1 and just like that, the black cloud that always lingers over the Andrettis anytime they step foot at Indy returned.
And as the checkered flag waved on the 96th edition of the Indianapolis 500, it ended in the same fashion as they have for the last 43 years: Without an Andretti celebrating by sipping the customary winner's milk in Victory Circle.