Q Well, just another day at the track, eh, Marco?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Not exactly. That was new for me.
Q: Wow, talk about it. Watching, I was surprised that Alex Lloyd put up the time he did. He went out and did it, and all of a sudden the pressure was on you.
MARCO ANDRETTI: I wonder if the track just got better, or what. I knew we were going to be hanging it out at the end there. Our approach was, we're going home anyway. Really, I mean, the way we went out, it was either stick it in the fence or stick it in the show. So, luckily we were on the upside of that.
Q: I should hope so. What a weird day. You're in a situation where it's your own teammate, as well, which has to be brutal.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I'm feeling for Mike [Conway], as well. But I think the pair of them are two of the best in the business. Ryan has had terrible luck this year. Fortunately, Mike got a win, but Ryan has been in a position to win a lot of races this year and came short for whatever reason. I was just so fortunate to be on the upside of the circumstances. We were at Mother Nature's mercy for a while there. It was a roller coaster day. When I woke up today, I was ready. I was just ready for it, and I was expecting to be – luckily we were in line at the right place at the right time. But I was expecting it to come down to the wire because I knew we didn't have the speed. We came up with it at the end there, but we were really risking it.
Q: You looked pretty confident...
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, but I don't want to come across cocky, either. To be honest, I was happier that we got bumped, you know, because that justifies us going out again. You hate to withdraw your time and then you have to lift, or you crash the thing and you're out of it. So many things could have gone wrong. Somebody was looking over me today. I was lucky.
Q: Marco, how excruciating was it to be in that cockpit when James Jakes went out there and you knew there was no chance that he was not going to be able to be fast enough, and all that was doing was ticking away the time that could have kept you from making a run?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Exactly, but at the same time it was almost like a common courtesy. If I went out and did that speed, I would call it just to let somebody have another go. But I was fortunate things worked out, like I said.
Q: What's it like to just sit in the cockpit that long waiting for a shot at it?
MARCO ANDRETTI: That's my favorite place to be, man. (Laughter)
Q: But you must have been sweating? What was it like?
MARCO ANDRETTI: You know what? I was in the mindset whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I think coming into like my first run of the month, I knew we were going to be in this position, unfortunately. If we didn't find that big jump in speed that we were down, even my teammate Danica, I knew we were going to be in this position. So I think we were just kind of prepared for it, and we showed up when we had to.
Q: When Danica came in, she said that she couldn't figure out any rhyme or reason for when you were faster or slower, and that's got to be really disconcerting to a driver.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I mean, I knew if I could keep it off the wall we were going to have a shot at it because we went pretty risky there at the end, but that's what you have to do, I guess. But, yeah, we've been confused with a few of the speeds out there, but it's not always the fastest car that wins this race. You have to have a good car in the race, and we'll be coming.
Q: Marco, could you talk a little bit about maybe your strategy, if you took any tips from TK last year, he came from 33rd and was in race contention last year, that's kind of the mindset that you'll be in this year. And I know you're fresh off just getting in the field, but talk a little bit about what Race Day is going to be like fighting through traffic and maybe competing for the win.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Well, studying last year's on-board in preparation for this year, it took me three-quarters of the race to get it toward the front, starting 16th last year. So we know we have a challenge ahead of us. I think it's going to be two different types of races. We're going to need some grip in the field and stuff like that. But, you know, double-file restarts, maybe that will shake it up a bit. From there, I mean it is 500 miles, so Dad could do some magic for us, and hopefully we can be up front and stay there.
Q: Marco, you said Saturday that all you wanted to do was get the car in the race because you thought you could win wherever you were. That's still your mindset?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Darn right. We wouldn't show up, otherwise. I think it would have been nice to be able to work on the racecar today, but not a lot of people did weather-wise, they kind of got caught out. I saw yesterday they got a bit of a jump on us, but we have good cars in the race this year. I don't want to jinx us: I was thinking about this last night when I wasn't sleeping; I think this team has been in the top three of this race since '03 or '04.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Ever since we started the team, yeah.
Q: Michael, are you happier that Marco got in or are you more bummed that Ryan and Mike aren't?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I knew it was going to come to that. I knew I wasn't going to be happy either way. I'm ecstatic for Marco, and I'm heartbroken for Ryan and DHL and heartbroken for Mike and the Hired Heroes guys and 7-Eleven. It was not a good day. It was probably my worst day as an owner, for sure.
I had some real tough times here, and as a driver that probably would have been worse, but as an owner this probably ranks up there as the worst. You know, because I felt so bad for those guys. You know, there for a while I was feeling bad for Danica and GoDaddy, and then it turned to bright for them and then dark for Ryan and Mike. So it was just –I just knew somebody wasn't going to be happy in this team, you know, at the end of the day. We were too close together.