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Andretti hoping offseason work leads to wins

| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 10:42 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Marco Andretti thinks people have the wrong idea about his comfort level with the status quo.

The scion of one of the great racing families insists his desire to win isn't diminished at all by the apparent job security of working for his father, Michael Andretti, at Andretti Autosport.

In fact, Andretti spent the offseason examining what was holding him back in IndyCar and worked with a coach overseas.

“Just one win every couple of years is not enough for me, obviously,” Andretti said. “I'm very competitive. I just want people to know I'm not going home satisfied. I'm not going home happy. And I shouldn't.”

Andretti certainly knocked on the door with a third-place finish in the season opener at St. Petersburg, his first top-five finish on a street course since Toronto in 2011. Perhaps he can check off one key goal of the offseason work: Improving in street races.

Andretti enters Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with renewed confidence after a performance that “almost felt like a win.”

The 26-year-old son and grandson of former greats Michael and Mario Andretti, respectively, isn't trying to ride his famous racing name, but build on it. Why do people think he might be content to be just OK?

“Because I drive for my dad. Simple as that,” he said. “Driving for dad, it can be the best possible scenario when we're winning but if we're not, the easiest thing to say is I'm there because of obvious reasons. ... My dad is probably my toughest critic in the world. I'd be the first one on the street if he didn't believe I'd perform.”

Andretti had a frustrating 2012 season.

He finished 15th in the points standings and had only one top-five finish and three top 10s in 15 races. That followed four straight seasons in the top 10.

Still, his only IndyCar wins came at Infineon Raceway in 2006 and Iowa Speedway two years ago. Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay said being an Andretti in racing is a large burden to carry.

“It's an immense amount of pressure he's lived with since he was go-karting,” Hunter-Reay said. “He's carrying the name of Andretti. He's got a lot of weight on his shoulders. It's a pressure that not many people in racing have — Andretti, Rahal and Earnhardt. Even then there's an argument that Andretti is the biggest name in racing in the world.”

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