LONG POND, Pa. -- Before the June 25 manufacturer test session at Pocono Raceway, Marco Andretti hosted Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso plus Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan at his home in Nazareth, Pa.
It was a lighthearted time following eight consecutive weeks of on-track activity to close the first half of the IZOD IndyCar Series season.
"They are never serious at any point and time,” Andretti said of his house guests. “We're smiling, joking and laughing all the time. That's what life is about."
There's been a positive vibe within Andretti Autosport, too. Following up its 2012 championship with Hunter-Reay, it has been the dominant team through the 10 races with five victories, including a field-high three by Hinchcliffe. Hunter-Reay is nine points behind championship front-runner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske entering the July 7 Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco. Andretti is third and Hinchcliffe is fourth in the standings.
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Andretti desperately wants to earn his third career victory, and doing so at his "home race" at Pocono Raceway would be special. The Andretti family history at “The Tricky Triangle” includes Marco's grandfather, Mario Andretti, winning the 1986 Indy car race in which his father, Michael, won the pole. Mario won the pole for the 1987 race shortly after Marco was born.
"I'm so frustrated and want to win. The monkey is on my back for sure,” Andretti said.
Andretti has eight top-10 finishes, but he said those results aren’t indicative of the strength of the No. 25 RC Cola team. Andretti pointed to his ninth-place finish at Iowa Speedway on June 23, where he was running among the leaders until the right-rear shock failed.
“We've been almost dominant the last two races, but had something go wrong,” he said of the Milwaukee and Iowa short ovals. “If we execute and everything goes right, we can win.”