After the final lap of the Indy 500, the famous Andretti name was on everyone’s lips. But this time, it was nineteen-year-old Marco Andretti, who finished second in the dramatic 90th running of Indianapolis 500.
American race fans have known the name Marco Andretti since he captured Skip Barber's Formula Dodge Eastern Series Championship in 2003. But as the Indy 500 drew to a close on May 28th, 2006, people all over the world wanted to know more about this nineteen year-old who has finished a mere 0.0635 behind the winner.
This third generation racer was watched by millions, including grandfather Mario at the track, father Michael on the track and the Tangled Spider Design Group team in Fort Lauderdale.
Despite it being a holiday weekend Sunday, the TSDG team was in their Fort Lauderdale studio monitoring the race progress and, as webmasters of http://www.marcoandretti.com, making sure that fans around the world had the very latest news.
TSDG’s creative director, Andy Royston, says, “We'd had word from the Andretti Green team that Marco had a strong car, so we were expecting fireworks. But as the final stages of the race unfolded it became clear that there was a distinct possibility of an Andretti family 1-2.
As Marco swept past his father and roared off into the distance, pursued by eventual race winner Sam Hornish Jr. we realized that - win or no - Marco's website needed to be ready for the interest and excitement he'd already generated. As the race ended we were busy adding the quotes of the day to the site and making sure that fans were given a reason to drop by. A 'commemorative wallpaper' was drawn up to mark the occasion, which was downloaded by visitors within minutes of the race finish.”
Colleague Jackie Jackson was watching the race, but with one eye on the site’s statistics “The hit rate to the site was going through the roof. It was evident that thousands of people from all over the world were saying ‘I need to know more about him’ and typing ‘Marco Andretti’ into search engines. In the space of minutes, the site had hits from China, Europe, Australia; even places like Thailand, Romania and Malta were on the list. I monitor a lot of websites but I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
TSDG’s Andrew Hillier commented, "Since witnessing his thrilling road race win at St Petersburg in the Infiniti Pro Series last year we've been behind Marco all the way. To witness the rise of such a great talent and to be playing a part in bringing this to the world through his website is a great honor. It is also tremendously exciting as these races unfold. Who knows what is around the corner."
Selected post-race quotes:
"I’m just so proud. I’m so proud. I think this race lasted three days. It was so awesome to watch these guys. I’m so proud of them." (About the Andretti family). We just love to drive. We love race cars. We just love to do it. We were born to do it, I think." Mario Andretti.
"I almost won this thing. I don’t want to wait until next year. I wish it was today. I knew I had a shot at it, I really did. I don’t like to go into a race thinking I don’t have a shot at it. That’s what I wanted, on the last lap. I don’t know where Penske came from, but I guess they were saving it. "I thought it if I defended my line that I might have had it. I don’t know where they came from. It’s a bummer. I’ve got to take advantage of every shot I get out here. I really do, because second is nothing."
"Having Marco out there racing the way he did, it was a dream, I was pretty impressed with him. I was really impressed with the way he drove. Patience. Like a champion. I just knew he was going to surprise a lot of people. He didn't surprise me. I was just a little surprised by how fast he got here. In a couple of days, I'll probably sit back and think, `Oh wow!' I thought he had won. It was a fairytale, a dream."
“I think America should celebrate. There’s a rising young American star, and he’s an Andretti. I think his potential is limitless.