Jarett Andretti carrying on the family tradition

5 Comments

Another member of the fabled Andretti clan is preparing to carry on and continue the family tradition.

Jarett Andretti – son of John, cousin of Marco, nephew of Michael, grandson of Aldo and great nephew of Mario – is preparing for his first full season of competition in both the USAC National Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series.

Jarett, 21, will race for uncle Michael’s Andretti Autosport Short Track subsidiary, making him a third-generation racer. The team expects to compete in more than 50 races this season.

“Like all drivers, I think about the racing schedule that I may be doing coming into a new season,” Jarett said. “Obviously, we all want to race as much as possible and this year, I could not have wished for a better lineup of races.

“I will be competing all the time in a variety of cars against the toughest competitors in short track racing in the country. I’m really looking forward to this year.”

Although this is his first full-time ride, the youngest racing Andretti is far from being a neophyte when it comes to being around a racetrack. He’s actually entering his fourth season behind the wheel of competitive racing.

He’s steadily progressed in several series, including winning championships in go-karts and the USAC Eastern Ignite Pavement Series. Last season, he competed part-time in Sprint Cars and Silver Crown Cars, earning Rookie of the Year honors in the Sprint Car category at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, in the shadow of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Andretti will drive the Superior Auto Sprint Car in all Midwest USAC races. He will also be behind the wheel of the No.4 Window World Silver Crown car on pavement and the No.14 McQuinn Silver Crown car at all of the dirt track Silver Crown races.

For more information on the latest addition to the Andretti family team of racers, check out Jarett’s web site, JarettAndretti.com, or catch him on Twitter @JarettAndretti.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.