Marco Andretti ended in the top 10 for another year, but ninth was a frustrating pill to swallow after P5 and a near title challenge the previous year. We look back at Marco’s season next as part of MotorSportsTalk’s Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 driver-by-driver review.
- Team: Andretti Autosport
- 2013: 5th Place, Best Finish 3rd, 1 Pole, 2 Podiums, 6 Top-5, 15 Top-10, 259 Laps Led, 8.9 Avg. Start, 8.9 Avg. Finish
- 2014: 9th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 5th, 2 Podiums, 2 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 23 Laps Led, 12.4 Avg. Start, 12.2 Avg. Finish
Ninth in the 2014 standings for Marco Andretti owed more to the inconsistency of others than it did his own performance being the ninth best in the series. Andretti, over the last two years, has become increasingly introspective and critical of his own work – he has a sincere focus and desire to continue to be better. All too often throughout 2014, Andretti struggled to match his personal gains he made a year ago, when he leapt from 16th (2012) to fifth in the championship.
Not that the downsides of his 2014 were his entire fault. Far from it, actually. Andretti got taken out through no fault of his own at St. Petersburg and Mid-Ohio, and his early race engine failure at Texas was a crushing blow when he had driven ridiculously well to gain spots in the early laps. Problem was, outside of his outstanding drive to second in mixed conditions at Barber and a near-miss third in the Indianapolis 500, Andretti never figured into win, podium or even top-five contention.
As ever, the blame lay with his qualifying. Andretti had the lowest qualifying average of the four full-time Andretti Autosport drivers, at 12.4. Fifth at Pocono marked his only top-five start. In 2013, he’d averaged 8.9, with seven top-five starts. In a field as competitive as this one, Andretti’s qualifying was his weakest point, and ultimately doomed his season. The consistent and mistake-free races meant little to nothing because far too often, Andretti left himself too much work on race day.