Michael Andretti hopes to eventually top Roger Penske in Indy 500 wins

Photo: Michael L. Levitt
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Quick: What IndyCar owner has earned the most Indianapolis 500 wins since 2005?

If you said Roger Penske – and hard as it may seem to believe, given his teams have won the 500 a record 16 times – you’d be wrong.

Michael Andretti was in Detroit on Wednesday to pick up his fifth “Baby Borg Trophy” since 2005 – the highly-coveted miniature version of the prestigious Borg-Warner Trophy presented every year to the race winner and team owner of the 500.

Andretti’s 500 winners have been Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014), Alexander Rossi (2016) and Takuma Sato (2017). That’s five winners in the last 13 years of the 500.

Team Penske, meanwhile, has won the 500 just once in the last three years (2015, Juan Pablo Montoya) and three times since 2005 (2006, Sam Hornish Jr., and 2009, Helio Castroneves).

While Penske still outweighs Andretti 16-5 as the winningest modern-day owners in the Greatest Spectacle In Racing (Lou Moore won 5 Indy 500s as an owner from 1938 to 1949), Andretti wants Penske to hear his footsteps coming – and hopes to overtake him one day as the winningest team owner in Indy 500 history.

“That’s my goal,” Andretti told NBC Sports in an exclusive interview. “I keep telling Roger I want to do that. We’re a third of the way there.”

Andretti has developed his organization, Andretti Autosport, borrowing several pages from the playbook that Penske used to build Team Penske over the last 52 years.

“He’s always our benchmark,” Andretti said of Penske. “Roger, anywhere he goes, he’s going to set the benchmark. And if you can beat him, you’re beating the best of the field.

“We’ve been able to do that the last few years at Indy. Indy is very special to him and to be able to beat him at that place is a big accomplishment. Yeah, my goal is, before they bury me, is to have more Borgs than Roger.”

“Yeah, my goal is, before they bury me, is to have more Borgs than Roger.”

Penske turns 81 on February 20. Andretti turned 55 last October 5.

“(The Indy 500 is) the most special thing we do,” Andretti said. “This is a moment we all want, to be able to win the Indy 500. That’s what we’re all doing, that’s our Super Bowl.

“And now, to be able to say we’ve won it five times is amazing, and that we’re now second to only Roger Penske in wins.

“When you look at coming up on 102 years of history, to be part of that, that’s what it’s all about. We’re just very proud as a team, we like it, we love the feeling and we want to keep doing this. Our goal is to do it again this year.”

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.