By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Marco Andretti scored his 100th career top-10 in his 214th Verizon IndyCar Series career start on Sunday, finishing seventh in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
From the 11th starting position, the Andretti avoided two crashes in the opening 10 laps, and kept his No. 98 U.S. Concrete Honda for Andretti-Herta Autosport clean all race long.
The third-generation pilot believed pitting early was beneficial with the car running competitive throughout the grinding 500-mile race.
“I think we made a good gamble to pit early,” Andretti said. “We came out and we were flying, and we leapfrogged everybody… and it figures we’d go 480 miles with no yellow, so we ended up right back where we started.”
As the field calmed down throughout the first half, Andretti brought excitement to the competition on Lap 71 of 200 by making a bold outside pass entering Turn 2 on points leader Scott Dixon for fourth entering.
Later on Lap 104, Andretti made another spectacular overtake on Dixon, immediately pulling away as he saw himself in third, wowing his family and home track fans.
However, his eyes of a podium were dashed after fuel conservation and a pit stop knocked him out of the top-five. Eventually losing out on sixth to teammate Zach Veach (No. 26 Andretti Autosport), who executed his inside pass to a tee at the exit of Turn 2.
As Alexander Rossi (No. 98 Andretti Autosport) took the victory, while Andretti settled for seventh, which also happens to be his seventh top-10 of the season after 14 rounds.
Andretti, who sits 11th in the championship (-14 behind 10th-place Sebastien Bourdais), admitted he was hoping catch a break by having a caution to get him back in contention for a better result after trying to save fuel, but like many, also had Robert Wickens, who sustained orthopedic injuries after being involved in a five-car crash on Lap 7, on his mind.
“We went for it and all we needed was a little help to be on the podium, but we had to save (fuel) for most of the race,” Andretti said.
“Coming away with a 100th top-10, but wish it was a win. We’re on to Gateway next weekend but sending good thoughts tonight to Robbie.”
Up next, Andretti will look redeem last year’s 14th-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park as North America’s premier open wheel championship heads to the 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Illinois for a Saturday night showdown on August 25.