Only a week after winning his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship as an owner since 2007, Michael Andretti took to Twitter on Sunday for an impromptu question and answer session of a plethora of fan and media questions about the team's offseason plans and his own promotional outlook on the Andretti Sports Marketing side.
Although champion driver Ryan Hunter-Reay switched to No. 28 in 2011 to represent the estimated 28 million people living with cancer nationwide, Andretti said he'd like to see RHR adopt the champion's No. 1 for 2013.
The No. 1 was last run by Andretti himself in the 2006 Indianapolis 500, when he finished third behind Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti, while Scott Dixon was the last IndyCar Series champion to take the No. 1 for a full season in 2004 – a year fraught with frustration for the New Zealander. Dixon finished only 10th in the standings with two top-five finishes and no wins in 15 starts.
“Not sure yet. I would like No. 1,” was Andretti's reply to a question from AP auto racing writer Jenna Fryer.
Andretti also said he may change Marco Andretti's number from 26, which Marco has ran with since his series debut in 2006. Asked why, the elder Andretti joked, “It's been bad luck. Lol.” It wouldn't be No. 6 if available, he said, because he “hated that number.”
A fourth entry, which was campaigned part-time in 2012 for Sebastian Saavedra (three races) and Ana Beatriz (two), with both racing at the Indianapolis 500, is also potentially in the cards for a full-time return in 2013, Andretti said. “Hopefully more than a few,” Andretti said regarding Beatriz's status for next year.
Regarding races, Andretti, who rescued both the Milwaukee and Baltimore races this year (Baltimore with major financial support from investor J.P. Grant), was asked whether he would take on a similar role to save the Edmonton race, which was confirmed off the 2013 schedule this weekend. Andretti responded, “No I don't see that happening.” He did say he was working on Fort Lauderdale, a market discussed as a potential new street race on more than one occasion. He added he's looking to promote more races with the Andretti Sports Marketing team.
With Pocono Raceway also considered likely to be added to the schedule, Andretti said chances for a return there are “looking good.”
One track he also won't be doing anything to rescue, not for a lack of desire, is Nazareth Speedway – a track that's laid dormant for years and is still owned by ISC.
“ISC owns the track. I don't think it will ever be saved,” he said to one question asking if he'd consider re-opening the track. “Would love to see it saved but I doubt it.”
On other former CART strongholds Cleveland, Michigan and Phoenix, Cleveland “Would be gr8,” chances of a Michigan return are “not sure,” and he “loves Phoenix.” Although Road America track president George Bruggenthies claimed recently that Milwaukee would be the only IndyCar race in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future, Andretti denied that and said he'd love to go back.
“I support it, contrary to what was said,” he said.
The Indianapolis road course, he said, would be “against tradition.” Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, he said, will not happen for IndyCar for as long as Sonoma remains on the schedule.
He added, too, a possible interest for the combined Grand-Am/American Le Mans Series sports car championship in 2014.
The entire feed of questions and answers from Andretti to all Twitter users can be found on his Twitter feed, @michaelandretti.