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Bummed Marco Andretti Lets Slip ARCA Frustrations After Rain-Shortened Phoenix Outing

Published 03/09/2024, 6:16 AM EST

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Cook Racing Technologies (CRT) dropped some big news back in January, snagging the 36-year-old grandson of racing icon Mario Andretti to hit the track in various ARCA Menards and NASCAR Truck series races for the 2024 season. Andretti’s going to be behind the wheel for seven Truck races too, steering the #4 Chevy, thanks to a partnership with Roper Racing. He’s set to make his Truck debut this March at the Circuit of The Americas. But things haven’t kicked off too smoothly for Andretti.

His first ARCA race took a nosedive with a crash at Daytona, and then, to add insult to injury, his car did not perform well due to some major issues during his second outing, leaving him stuck in P20. Venting his spleen on Twitter, the racing legend didn’t hold back, airing his vexation over the car, giving up the ghost.

Marco Andretti was all geared up for fresh challenges but hit a snag due to a shock mount breaking on the hauler

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The Phoenix ARCA race marked Marco’s debut in the West Series, though he’s no stranger to Phoenix, having competed there in the IndyCar Series between 2016 and 2018. Despite those efforts, a top-10 finish always eluded him.

His crew chief, Sean Samuels, armed with two West Series wins and plenty of Phoenix experience was optimistic about securing a strong position for Andretti. Yet, Andretti ended up crossing the finish line in 20th place, not due to any crash or a malfunction during the race, but an internal hiccup with his car.

The reason he cited was, “Long story short: The shock mount broke on the hauler in route. We made a series of changes to combat that underlying issue in practice. Then found the issue but we were stuck with all of those changes for Qual and the race. I think I’ve officially seen it all now 🤣 Car broke on the hauler. We are going to do some cool stuff this year but this was a bummer. P20”

Despite these setbacks, Marco still has 12 more ARCA races to leave his mark.

Is #17 gearing up to be the next Andretti to make waves in NASCAR?

Marco Andretti third-gen racer just nabbed a top-20 finish in his Truck Series debut with Spire and previously clinched a win at the Slinger Speedway in the all-star SRX stock car series in 2021, even bagging the overall championship last year. This season, Marco’s set to hit the track in 14 ARCA Menards Series races and make seven appearances in the NASCAR Truck Series.

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However, with two races already gone, Andretti is apparently left with 12 more chances to prove what he can do on the track. His dad, Michael Andretti, is all in on his son’s potential, saying, “We’ll see how he goes. He’s going to run a few more this year, and hopefully some more other races next year. I think if everything goes well, it’s possible to see him in Cup in a year or so.”

Read More: After F1 Snub, Michael Andretti’s NASCAR Dream Could Turn Into Reality

Fans are also buzzing at the prospect of the Andretti family legacy intertwining with NASCAR. Marco, grandson of the racing icon and 1967 Daytona 500 champ Mario Andretti, and son of IndyCar heavyweight Michael Andretti, could’ve taken a shortcut straight to NASCAR’s big league. But that’s not Marco Andretti’s style.

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“I want to try to excel in a different part of our sport. Something that to me is apples-to-oranges different. I think a lot of guys, they force themselves to get sponsorship and go right to the top of this sport. I respect how different it is and how talented everybody is on the way up.

I just want to do it the right way and kind of earn my stripes.”

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

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Neha Dwivedi is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As a journalist, she religiously believes in the power of research, which allows her readers to dive deep into her stories and experience the detailed nuances of the sport like never before. Being proficient with Core Sport and Live Event Coverage, she has written multiple copies on the top entities of Stock Car Racing, like Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Tony Stewart.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad