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Jarrett Andretti on pit lane at the indianapolis Motor Speedway
Jarett Andretti Feels Right at Home in Indianapolis 8 Hour

Jarett Andretti will always roll into Indianapolis Motor Speedway as John Andretti’s son, but this weekend he will compete in the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS as a recent sports car race winner.

Andretti scored his first victory in class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last weekend in the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The third-generation driver co-drove with former NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Gabby Chaves and Josh Burdon in Andretti Autosport’s No. 36 Ligier JS P320 in the LMP3 class.

This weekend, Andretti will drive with another former NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver, Ryan Briscoe, and Jeff Westphal in a Ferrari 488 GT3 Pro category at IMS. On-track action begins Friday, with Saturday’s eight-hour race starting at noon ET. Tickets are available at IMS.com.

The latter stages of the race will be held in dusk and darkness. “Racing a Ferrari (at night) is going to be incredible,” Andretti said.

This will be Andretti’s second race on the IMS road course, the other coming in 2020 in the GT4 America race held during Harvest Grand Prix weekend. He competed on the oval in 2019 in the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100, finishing sixth.

While Andretti’s resume as an IMS driver is limited, his association with the track can be traced nearly to the moment he was born. He was 5 months old when his father made his sixth of 12 “500” starts in 1993, finishing 10th for A.J. Foyt’s team. When John returned for a second “500” stint in 2007 after several years in NASCAR, his son was 14 and a regular tagalong. John ran his last “500” in 2011.

One of Jarett’s most memorable moments came on one of those race mornings. John had stayed in a downtown hotel that month, driving himself to the track each day. That morning, he arrived especially early and wanted to catch a few winks before the festivities began. His son was to be his alarm clock, and Jarett said he didn’t dare fall asleep, too.

“I was just staring at the clock waiting for it to hit 8:30 so I could hit him (to wake up),” he said, laughing. “There are so many stories like that when you think about all the days in May.”

John helped his son’s driving career get rolling more than a decade ago, and their diverse motorsports program has worked with Indianapolis-based Andretti Autosport since cousin Michael Andretti “took on a couple of strays,” and Jarett describes it, in 2012. Without his father, who died of colon cancer in January 2020, Andretti, who turns 30 in December, leans on Michael and his staff for counsel and support.

This weekend’s Indianapolis 8 Hour is something of a one-off for Andretti’s sports car program, a deal that came together in conjunction with Vital Speed Motorsports. Andretti said it didn’t take much convincing to join the team based in Portland, Oregon, as he is always interested in racing at IMS.

“I don’t even have to get on the highway to come to the track,” he said, noting his home near Eagle Creek Park on the city’s west side. “It’s maybe 15 minutes (to IMS). There’s even a Starbucks and a McDonalds just down the road in Clermont if I need to get coffee on my way there.”

 

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