Alexander Rossi’s storming victory in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was especially significant for team owner Michael Andretti, as it marked the 200th win for Andretti Autosport across all of its team platforms – this year alone, IndyCar, Indy Lights, GT4 America, Rallycross, Formula E and the Supercar Championship.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in [such] a short period of time, to get to 200,” said Andretti. “We’ve had so many great people help get us there. I was just told we had 38 different drivers that won for us over the years to get us to this point. And it’s a great feeling.
“Did I ever expect to be at 200 wins over I don’t know how many years it’s been, 15 or whatever? No. I mean, I think I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you. It’s been a lot of fun. Been a lot of hard work.
“It’s got its challenges, but it also has its rewards. For me, it still gives me a reason to get up in the morning. It’s always a challenge, something new, something you have to deal with every day. I like challenges.”
The foundations for Andretti’s status as one of racing’s most prominent team owners were laid by the examples set by the high-profile owners he served under as a driver; a list that includes Paul Newman, Carl Haas, Chip Ganassi and Barry Green.
“No question, I learned a lot [from them],” Andretti said. “Probably mostly in my years with Carl. I was really close to Carl and Paul. They always listened to what I had to offer. They would listen and do things that I would suggest, which was really awesome. Maybe that’s why it gave me the confidence, maybe I knew a little bit what was going on.
“But I did learn a lot from them. I’ve got to say, when I was a driver, there would be times where I’d wonder ‘what the heck are you doing, why are you making this move and that move?’. Doesn’t always make sense to you as a driver. When you get on the other side of it, now I understand a lot of the things, why they were doing things. It is definitely different being on the other side.”
Andretti heads into the Month of May looking to pass another milestone: victory in the Indianapolis 500 would move him ahead of Chip Ganassi and Lou Moore into second on the all-time winning owners’ list.