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IndyCar world weighs in on Super Bowl LI (VIDEO)

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The Atlanta Falcons led the New England Patriots 28-3 last night in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI, and suddenly, it felt like a car that had a massive lead in the Indianapolis 500 or 24 Hours of Le Mans.

And if they lost, it would be a case of massive heartbreak.

And that’s what happened. In racing terms, this loss was probably on par with Michael Andretti’s engine woes having dominated the 1992 Indianapolis 500 or Toyota losing at Le Mans last year.

Both victories seemed uncertain but went begging in the dying stages. The ’92 500 is probably an even more apt racing-to-football comparison; with Andretti having lost the sure win, but the race the ending in the closest finish in race history after Al Unser Jr. edged Scott Goodyear. That was the Patriots then winning by six, 34-28, in a game they trailed by 25.

Here’s a few thoughts from the Verizon IndyCar Series world as it all went down last night.

First, we’re checking to make sure that Patriots fan and Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi has regained his breath:

Here’s some more from the IndyCar world:

There was also a lot of Lady Gaga support:

And lastly, this aired in Indianapolis and a couple other local markets, in a preview to the 101st Indianapolis 500 via this commercial from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It puts in perspective how much longer the ‘500 has gone on – that this year will be the 101st running and this was only the 51st Super Bowl.

Testing for the Verizon IndyCar Series goes fast and heavy this week, with Ed Carpenter Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports testing at Sonoma Raceway early this week before the open test Prix View on Friday and Saturday.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.