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July 6, 2013

Andretti wants 1 more ride with son, grandson

LONG POND, Pa. — Mario Andretti wants one more race, family style.

At 73, Andretti has been long retired from racing, and one of open wheels all-time greats hasn’t turned a competitive lap since a spectacular crash during practice for the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

Andretti, though, hasn’t completely put the idea of one final race out of his mind. He’s serious when he says he wants to team up with son, Michael, and grandson, Marco, for an endurance race like the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona or 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I’d do it,” Mario Andretti said. “There’s no point in me coming back unless there’s a compelling a reason.”

And there’s no more compelling reason than family ties on the track.

Don’t start dreaming of the greatest comeback in motor sports just yet. There’s one big hitch.

“Marco would do it. Michael doesn’t want to do it,” Mario said. “He’s much younger than I am and he says he’s too old. You figure that out. But if I can convince Michael to do it, I’ll do it. I would. I still have the competitive spirit, which is good.”

His grandfather’s dream of an Andretti reunion seemed like fun for 26-year-old Marco, who posted fast practice times this week at Pocono Raceway. The third-generation driver said Mario would be “up to the task,” of becoming a tag-team partner in the annual races.

“He would start and finish and dad and I would do all the brunt work,” Marco Andretti said.

Told Michael had balked, Marco hardly seemed surprised.

“I think dad doesn’t love it like me and my grandfather,” he said. “He was just very good and he knew he was good. But I think he’s really happy and content where he’s at and he’s doing a heck of a job there, too, as an owner.”

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