Having won the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race 500 as a team owner for the third time in 2014, Michael Andretti is already looking forward to 2016 and the 100th running.
“It was cool to have the 100th anniversary of the race and now to have the 100th running we’d sure love to win that one,” Andretti said. “It’s something we talk with our sponsors and potential sponsors about that it’s going to be a huge deal.”
That’s not to imply that Andretti Autosport is overlooking the 99th running May 24. Andretti, who finished in the top five in five of his 16 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (best of second in 1991), and whose father, Mario, won the 1969 race, expects his drivers to contend again.
Ryan Hunter-Reay is the defending “500” champion, while Marco Andretti has placed in the top five in five of his nine starts (runner-up twice) and Carlos Munoz has finished second and fourth.
Last May, Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves dueled over the final six laps with Hunter-Reay denying Castroneves his fourth Indy 500 victory by .0600 of a second (the second-closest finish in race history).
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Speedway president J. Douglas Boles also is looking forward to the next two Verizon IndyCar Series dates on the 2.5-mile oval.
“We’re really excited about the 100th; there are a lot of exciting things that we’re planning. Project 100 is a big piece of that; a lot of investment we’re going to make in the Speedway,” he said. “We’re really focused on how to make the 99th – the last one of that double-digit number – a really special race.
“We’ve had some great years and we expect more of the same and hopefully it leads into 2016 when we have another unbelievable race. The track and the cars and the new aero kits we think will make it that much more exciting for fans.”
Project 100, a major capital improvement initiative tied to the 100th running and tasked to create fan-focused experiences and entertainment options at IMS, is well underway.
“We’re excited about the product and we view it through the filter of how does the fan view it and how do we make the fan experience better,” Boles said.