Andretti knows the family history but is ready to make his own mark at the Indy 500

A win at Indy would be great for Marco but he is not obsessed with it

The 101 st running of the Indianapolis 500 is set for high noon Sunday and this is a wide open field with at least eight to ten drivers with cars that could win. One of those drivers is Marco Andretti, the pilot of the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda. He will be starting in the third row in the number eight slot with plenty of time work his way to the front of the pack.

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Another person of interest is 22-year-old Sage Karam, who hails from Nazareth Pennsylvania, the same home town as his good friend Marco Andretti. He will be starting 21st in the field in his No. 24 Chevrolet driving for Dreyer & Reinbold.

I spoke to both men who were on their way early this week to watch their favorite Philadelphia Phillies play before heading to Indianapolis for the 500. This year both drivers have cars worthy of strong consideration of getting the checkered flag.

Andretti come from racing royalty and it has been 50 years since his grandfather Mario has won the race. But Marco, does not feel the pressure of having to win, he just, like all the other men in the field, wants a shot to win and this year he feels he has a serious chance to win.

“I think I’ve had eight legitimate shots at winning this race, and it just hasn’t worked out so far,” Andretti said. “Hopefully, we can change that this weekend and everything will work out.”

As for Karam he is a confident young driver but he is also very smart. “Well starting in the back of the field but the key is to pick our spots and work our way through the field. Then when we get up to the top of the field we just have to stay smart when we get up there. I want to be there with 20 or 30 laps to go and cruise around in the top-five. If we’re there, I think we’ll have the opportunity to pounce when we need to and fight for a win.”

We have plenty more with both guys in our pre-race podcast you can hear bellow.

With position, car number, driver, engine, team, four-lap qualifying speed average:

Row 1

1. 9, Scott Dixon, Honda, Ganassi, 232.164 mph

2. 20, Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, Carpenter, 231.664

3. 98, Alexander Rossi, Honda, Andretti Herta, 231.487

Row 2

4. 26, Takuma Sato, Honda, Andretti, 231.365

5. 29, Fernando Alonso, Honda, Andretti McLaren, 231.300

6. 21, JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, Carpenter, 230.889

Row 3

7. 10, Tony Kanaan, Honda, Ganassi, 230.828

8. 27, Marco Andretti, Honda, Andretti, 230.474

9. 12, Will Power, Chevrolet, Penske, 230.200

Row 4

10. 28, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, Andretti, 231.442

11. 19, Ed Jones, Honda, Coyne, 230.578

12. 16, Orio Servia, Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 230.309

Row 5 

13. 7, Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, Schmidt Peterson, 230.271

14. 15, Graham Rahal, Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, 230.253

15. 8, Max Chilton, Honda, Ganassi, 230.068

Row 6

16. 83, Charlie Kimball, Honda, Ganassi, 229.956

17. 5, James Hinchcliffe, Honda, Schmidt Peterson, 229.860

18. 22, Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, Penske, 229.565

Row 7

19. 3, Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, Penske, 229.515

20. 77,  Jay Howard, Honda, Schmidt Peterson, 229.414

21. 24, Sage Karam, Chevrolet, Dreyer & Reinbold, 229.380

Row 8

22. 2, Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, Penske, 228.501

23. 1, Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, Penske, 228.093

24. 14, Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, Foyt, 227.921

Row 9

25. 88, Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, Harding, 226.921

26. 4, Conor Daly, Chevrolet, Foyt, 226.439

27. 50, Jack Harvey, Honda, Shank Andretti, 225.742

Row 10

28. 63, Pippa Mann, Honda, Coyne, 225.008

29. 11, Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, Juncos,  224.052

30. 44, Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, Lazier,  223.417

Row 11

31. 17, Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, Juncos, 221.142

32. 40, Zach Veach, Chevrolet, Foyt, 221.081

33. 18, James Davison, Honda, Coyne, no speed

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.