By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
Marco Andretti will pilot the No. 98 U.S. Concrete Honda for this year’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 with a tribute livery celebrating the 50th anniversary his grandfather Mario’s victory of the iconic race in 1969.
The Andretti-Herta Autosport with Marco and Curb-Agajanian entry has No. 98 styled similarly to the font used by the No. 2 on Mario’s entry from 1969 and has the numbers on the flick-ups in front of the rear wheels instead of on the rear wing itself.
“I’m really happy we were able to pull this off, it’s a really cool way to honor Mario’s 50th anniversary,” said Marco. “The color will be hard to miss on track and the car looks great. We’re all very thankful that U.S. Concrete was on board to run the livery and make this year’s car as special as possible. We can’t wait to have a shot at bringing this car to victory lane on May 26.”
Mario Andretti’s win in 1969 came with the famous Brawner-Hawk, a two-year-old backup car after the primary four-wheel-drive Lotus design crashed during practice. Andretti qualified the car in the middle of the front row and dominated. Despite having more than 1,100 laps led between Mario, son Michael and Marco Andretti, the family has not visited Indianapolis 500 victory lane since as drivers.
“I was full of pride when I learned that my son Michael was paying tribute to me this way,” said racing legend Mario Andretti. “The effort his team is going through to present this commemorative car is flattering. Thank you to the team for that effort and also for acknowledging my part in Indy 500 history. I am honored to have Marco carry the design from my 1969 car. I hope this winning paint scheme will be a good omen for him and that he’ll get his first 500 victory. When I see the car, it will definitely be an opportunity for reflection. It’s humbling. It is a tremendous compliment to me that this team would look back at my victory and find it worthy of recognition.”
Practice for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 begins May 14th with qualifications on May 18th and 19th ahead of the race on May 26th.