Marco Andretti Finding New Level of Happiness at Indy 500

indianapolis, in during the indianapolis 500 at the indianapolis motor speedway photo by joe skibinski ims photo
Marco Andretti Finding Happiness at Indy 500Penske Entertainment/Joe Skibinski

Is it the Tony Stewart effect?

Three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart has said many times in the past two or three years that with his marriage to NHRA Top Fuel racer Leah Pruett and his own venture into drag racing, he’s happier than he’s ever been.

And Aric Almirola, one of his former NASCAR drivers at Stewart-Haas Racing, said last fall that he has known Stewart for a long time and that he never has seen Stewart happier.

Fast forward to Marco Andretti, who will start Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 from the inside of Row 7.

Andretti, who was the best man an Stewart's wedding, said Thursday he’s “as happy as I've been in the last five to eight years, honestly. I really struggled here in the races, just drove so uncomfortable for 500 miles the last few years. Definitely Monday felt very, very comfortable. It was the most productive two hours I've had in a decade here.


“I definitely am more happy than I've been in a long time here at the Speedway. I'm just bummed with no track position. If we wrung everything out, we should have been top 12, which is disappointing. We were lined up to go back out, but we miss-timed it and I didn't make it back out,” the No. 98 MAPEI/Curb Honda said.

So call it the “Tony Stewart Effect.” But it won’t be the “Drag Racing Effect.”

A few years ago, Andretti, who has attended NHRA races in years past simply as a spectator, gave his opinion on whether he’d like to try 1,000 feet in less than four seconds at 330-plus mph: “Not on your life.”