ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The youngest Andretti has no idea what’s waiting for him, whether he decides to be a racer or not.
Michael Andretti’s wife, Jodi, gave birth to twins last week and the couple named the babies after grandparents. Their daughter was named Miati, who will be called Mia. The son was named after grandfather, Mario Andretti.
Marco Andretti said Tuesday the name of the newest member of the Andretti clan gave pause to him and his 14-year-old brother, Lucca.
“Lucca and I were talking when we heard the names and we were pretty surprised,” Marco said of naming the baby Mario. “But I guess Dad felt the generation was far enough apart that it was OK.”
Mario Andretti ranks second on the open-wheel all-time wins list with 52, including the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Following his legacy was tremendously difficult on son, Michael, who didn’t always enjoy racing during his career.
Michael Andretti won 42 races and the 1991 championship in Champ Car. He also scored 98 podium finishes, but famously failed to win the Indy 500.
Marco Andretti has also struggled at times in the shadow of his grandfather and father. Asked Tuesday if he’s glad he wasn’t named Mario, he didn’t miss a beat: “It’s not always that easy being Marco Andretti.”
Although he’s been in IndyCar eight seasons, Marco has only two wins and 16 podiums. The 26-year-old is constantly having to defend himself against critics who accuse him of making a career out of his last name. He acknowledged Tuesday driving for his dad at Andretti Autosport has its ups and downs.
“It can be a hindrance sometimes, perception-wise for sure,” Marco said. “People thinking that’s my only option. To me, I’ve been dealing with that sort of thing ever since I stepped into the sport. To be in the position I’m in now, really any IndyCar driver, you need to be lucky at some point, you know what I mean? But from there, definitely big shoes to fill.
“The positives are that he’s been a driver before, so he knows what we go through. He knows when to step in, when not to. That helps.”