On Friday morning, MotorSportsTalk had the opportunity to catch up with Mario Andretti to discuss his involvement with Hot Wheels at the Indianapolis 500, and also hear his thoughts on some of the current hot topics in IndyCar.
Although Andretti raced in an era where double races occurred at times, at Michigan and Atlanta, he’s not a huge proponent of the new doubleheader format that makes its debut in the modern IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend.
“Personally, I’m not a fan of that,” he said in a phone interview. “You want to have just one main event. With two, where do you put the marbles? Saturday or Sunday? I think it’s more for a supporting series, because they can use the seat time and experience.”
Andretti hopes the concept is well-received and doesn’t want to see any IndyCar race watered down.
“We’ll wait and see how well it’s received,” he said. “I’m a fan of the absolute main event, and the buildup to that. I hope the second race is not anti-climactic.”
As for JR Hildebrand, the young American whose contract with Panther Racing was terminated before this weekend’s race, Andretti hopes he’ll have another chance.
“For his sake I certainly hope so. He’s a young man with a lot of promise,” Andretti said. “It still holds a lot of stock that he’s in an American in an American series. He’s young, personable and with a lot of talent.
“He has had some missteps here or there, and they are costly. You can’t blame the team for readjusting. But he possesses enough talent and time to resume his career the way you hope it should go. I wish him well for sure; I’m sure everyone else does, too.”