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INDY 500 NOTES

Andretti team again unable to claim Indianapolis 500 victory

Marco, the third-generation Andretti driver whose grandfather won in 1969, leads a race-high 59 laps but finishes 24th after falling behind during a caution period, then crashing with 13 laps remaining.

May 27, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Marco Andretti talks with a member of his crew as his grandfather, 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti, listens to the conversation.
Marco Andretti talks with a member of his crew as his grandfather, 1969 Indy… (Tom Strattman / Associated…)

INDIANAPOLIS — Another Indianapolis 500, another tough day for an Andretti driver.

Marco Andretti entered the race brimming with confidence and had one of the strongest cars in the first half of the race as he led a race-high 59 of the 200 laps Sunday.

But he fell to 14th after a caution period came out immediately after the team made a pit stop. Then, with 13 laps left in the race, he spun and hit the Turn 1 wall, a crash that he said "definitely rung my bell."

He finished 24th and is still looking for his first Indy 500 victory.

Andretti, 25, initially blamed Oriol Servia for crowding him and contributing to the crash. But Andretti later said on Twitter: "Sorry for blaming @OriolServia. Was frustrated and totally out of it. I made my own bed there. Very sore. Unlucky but lucky."

Andretti's grandfather, Mario Andretti, won the Indy 500 once, in 1969, and Marco's father and team owner, Michael Andretti, never won the race in his driving career.

Power's streak ends

Will Power of Team Penske had won the three Izod IndyCar Series races before the Indy 500, all of which were on street or twisty road courses. But he's yet to win at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Australian crashed into Mike Conway on Lap 80 after Conway's car spun out and went slightly airborne. Power's car, in fact, slid underneath Conway's as they slammed into each other. Neither driver was hurt.

Conway had just pitted and his car had struck one of his crew members, which damaged his front wing and led to the spin-out. "We didn't realize it until I got out" on the track again, Conway said of the wing's damage.

Power said he was "just disappointed" for his team. "All the work they put in this month, and to be just taken out like that."

Lotus is parked

When IndyCar introduced a new race car this season, it also allowed teams to choose engines from Honda — the previous sole provider — or new suppliers Chevrolet or Lotus.

But Lotus was late to develop its engine and, by the time of the Indy 500, only two drivers were using it: Simona De Silvestro and rookie Jean Alesi.

And after only 10 laps, it was evident the pair did not have the speed to safely compete against the field, so IndyCar parked the two drivers.

"We were trying to keep up pace, but unfortunately right now we don't have the pace," De Silvestro said. "It's a disappointment because the team worked so hard all month."

james.peltz@latimes.com

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