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The Andretti bunch had a wild year that began poorly, turned around in the last portion yet ended in tragedy. It strongly resembled a Sam Peckinpah movie, come to think of it. Legal issues notwithstanding, 2015 was so turbulent it may well make AA want to start drinking again. For all Michael and Hunter-Reay’s talk of being “lost” with Honda early on, the “autosport” actually bounced back for a decent year on track equaling last year’s win total.
The team’s top driver and 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay scored oval wins at Iowa and Pocono along with four top five finishes including second at the Sonoma finale. He came back strong to finish sixth in points, helped by the fact that he was running at the end of thirteen out of sixteen races.
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Marco’s years’ long difficulties continued, finishing 9th overall in points. The scion of the Andretti family managed four top fives, including second in the awful, rain affected first Detroit race and third at glorious Fontana, may it rest in peace. Marco was running at the finish an impressive fifteen times. His winless streak stretches back years to his last win at Iowa in 2011 however, prompting us to again ask, “Marco, Where Have You Gone? Or, What’s In a Name?”
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Sometimes speedy Carlos Munoz broke through for his first series win in Detroit’s aforementioned first race, afterward calling his victory in the rain merely “ok.” If you’ve ever been to Detroit, you know what he means. The Colombian had three top fives to go along with his win, running at the finish of fourteen races. With that consistency he came in 13th in the championship, which is also just ok.
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The formerly four car team contracted for most of this year, running Justin Wilson in only a handful of races before being dealt the terrible blow. Wilson came in 2nd at Mid-Ohio in what tragically turned out to be his last complete race before losing his life at Pocono. The Englishman was thirty seven when he succumbed to injuries in August, leaving behind a wife and two little girls. He recorded seven career IndyCar victories and his positive, professional presence is already being missed in the series.
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Andretti Autosport got off to a dreadful start to the year but rebounded mid-season for an average overall result. Team owner Michael Andretti faced some challenges beyond those awful Honda aero kits, including legal and financial troubles. Forced to sue over the one and done NOLA event he promoted, Andretti then was sued by his own promotion company – and we thought the Supreme Court had been up to some legal shenanigans lately. He wound up settling out of court and selling off his unsuccessful promotion company – see Milwaukee, NOLA, Baltimore, etc. for AA promo flops. Heading into 2016 we wonder as always, “What’s Michael Andretti Thinking?”
Image from Indy Race Reviewer
2015 Grade: C
2015 Midseason Grade: D+
2014 Grade: B-