Photo: Josh Chin/Motorsports Tribune

Marco Andretti: Racing in Daytona 500 ‘Better Than the Couch’

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – In the spirit of racing crossover, Marco Andretti has teased the concept of running the Daytona 500.

The 30-year-old Nazareth, Pennsylvania native will have two-time Formula 1 champion, Fernando Alonso as a teammate at Andretti Autosport in this year’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. The 35-year-old Spaniard shook the racing world when it was announced that he would skip the Monaco Grand Prix, F1’s crown jewel event, to compete in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” next month.

In 2014, former NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch tried his hand in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, finishing sixth.

On Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch put the idea out there for his friend and former teammate to run in NASCAR’s most prestigious race.

“I’d love to see a guy like Marco come and run Daytona,” said Busch.

“I think that would be a huge event for him, for our sport.”

A few hours later, Andretti went out for afternoon practice and set the fastest overall time at Barber Motorsports Park for this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Mario Andretti, Marco’s grandfather, won the Daytona 500 in 1967, two years prior to capturing the Indy 500 in 1969. The concept of a crossover isn’t lost on the grandson, especially since the Verizon IndyCar Series is off when NASCAR starts their season in Florida.

“Just driving race cars in general interests me, but definitely some unfinished business here (in IndyCar),” said Andretti, driver of the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda.

“I want to win the Indy 500. I want to get a road or street course pole and start showing our speeds there. And a championship.

“So there’s a lot of unfinished business here. But if it’s an off weekend, it’s better than the couch, that’s for sure.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.