SPEEDWAY — For Marco Andretti, driving on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is like riding a bike. 

Even after a year away, the third-generation Andretti Autosport driver is preparing to run the 106th Indianapolis 500 as if he never skipped a beat.

“You can wake me up from my sleep and I’ll drive the Speedway. I love it here,” said Marco. “This is as cold as I’ve been and I don’t feel behind anyone or anything.”

Despite starting the race in row 8, he finished Monday’s practice with the eighth fastest ran 77 laps with the eighth fastest time, which was 

This year, Marco will surpass his father Michael’s 16 Indianapolis 500 starts. Michael also returns as his son’s strategist for the big year. 

“It’s a no-brainer. He’s the best to do it honestly,” said Marco. “He’s a really good strategist. The two of us work a lot better now than when I was a rookie because, like dad, I didn’t know anything.”

The duo has always been “passionate” over the headset, getting loud in the best way. 

“It’s different though because it didn’t affect us when I was a rookie, it affected everyone around us,” said Marco. “We’d be animated over the radio and go to dinner no problem. Other people would make mistakes because the energy is so high.” 

“Now they laugh at us and smile because they know when we’re going at each other it’s because we want to win this race.”

The Andretti curse has always been hanging over the family’s head, but Marco is not letting the external noise apply external pressure. 

“I’m very comfortable with this racetrack. The pressure is what I want to put on myself to win this race. I don’t care what my last name is, I want to win this race.”