Posted October 18, 2013 on AP on Fox
Marco Andretti saw the tweets that feigned surprise at the two-year contract extension he signed with his father's race team. He figured that was going to be the reaction when he agreed to return to Andretti Autosport for a ninth season. When you drive for your dad, everybody thinks you've got it pretty easy. But Andretti insisted he has to earn his place in the lineup and he can't stay with the organization if his car isn't sponsored. And before signing this latest extension, he looked around the IndyCar paddock to see what else might be out there. In the end, the No. 25 team with sponsorship from Dr Pepper Snapple Group was the best opportunity. ''Most of the comments were, `Big surprise, he stayed there,''' Andretti said. ''But it's one of the best teams. Why wouldn't I? I'm honored they want me back as well. I wouldn't be here if I didn't earn it.'' Andretti earned it this year, completing a total turnaround from the worst season of his career to put together the best since he came to IndyCar in 2006. He was 15th in points with just one podium a year ago. After dedicating himself during the offseason - he worked with a driver coach in Europe and recaptured his passion for racing - Andretti goes into Saturday night's finale ranked a career-best fifth in the standings with two podiums and a career-best two poles. Michael Andretti understands it can be difficult for his son from a perception standpoint, ''It's got to be tough because everybody thinks he's there because of me,'' he said. But he believes his son has meshed with his organization and shouldn't just leave to prove a point to outsiders. ''It all depends on what the team was. If he would go to a team that was not as good, then I don't think it would be good for him,'' Michael Andretti said. ''But if Roger Penske comes and talks to him, then he should talk to him. Would I be upset? No. Maybe in some ways it would be good for him. But I think right now, he's become a big part of the team here. Once he hits his stride, it will really pay off.'' In some ways, it already has paid off. Marco's confidence is so much higher than it was a year ago, and he's far more comfortable with his place in the series. ''I am very hard on myself. Being in fifth in the last race is definitely better than last year, but I wanted to be in the show,'' he said. ''But for the first time in my career, I can taste it and actually say that I believe I can be champion.'' His father agrees. ''A lot of it has been inner soul searching for him,'' Michael Andretti said. ''The team has helped, finding where he was weak, and he worked on it and did a really good job. Is he there? No. And he knows it. But he made great strides and if he makes that same stride again he's going to be a contender next year. ''I'm very proud of him. This year, if brakes go a little different, he's battling for the championship.''

Andretti Autosport re-signs Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport tells The Associated Press it has re-signed Marco Andretti to drive the No. 25 next season with sponsorship from Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The signing of Andretti is not a surprise, but kicks off what could be a busy weekend of announcements for owner Michael Andretti at the final IndyCar race of the season. The team is expected to announce a manufacturer switch...

Andretti re-signs Marco Andretti

After an offseason spent recommitting himself to racing, Marco Andretti was rewarded with the best season of his IndyCar career. Although he didn't make it to the winner's circle -- he's got one more chance in Saturday night's season finale at Auto Club Speedway -- he'll return to Andretti Autosport next season to make another run at an IndyCar championship and...

Hinchcliffe returning to Andretti

James Hinchcliffe will return to Andretti Autosport in 2014 with sponsorship from United Fiber & Data. The team, meanwhile, will switch from Chevrolet to Honda. The manufacturer change to Honda announced before Saturday night's season finale at Auto Club Speedway had been expected after rival Chip Ganassi said two weeks ago he was moving to Chevrolet. The re-signing of...

Hinchcliffe returns to IndyCar for 2014 with new sponsor, Honda to power cars

Andretti Autosport has confirmed today that James Hinchcliffe will return to the cockpit of the #27 car for next season and telecom company United Fiber and Data will be the primary sponsor of the car. UFD will also be an associate sponsor for Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. “We saw how great with he was as a brand ambassador,” said Bill Hines of UFD. “We want to piggyback...

IndyCar: Andretti Autosport Switches to Honda Power for 2014

Fontana, CA- It’s been a weird silly season in IndyCar. After countless driver changes and a big manufacturer change a few weeks ago when Chip Ganassi announced he would switch to Chevrolet power starting in 2014, rumors starting swirling that Andretti Autosport would then change to Honda. That news was confirmed today at Auto Club Speedway when Michael Andretti announced his organization...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.