LEXINGTON, OH – For the second straight year, Andretti Autosport heads into the end of the NTT IndyCar Series season with their driver lineup already finalized. Last year, Andretti had Zach Veach in the start of a three year deal. Marco Andretti had re-signed for a long term extension. Ryan Hunter-Reay had a deal through likely 2020. They knew Alexander Rossi had another year left too.
Now, we will head to August and have five races remaining in the 2019 season and Andretti has locked up all four drivers for 2020 as well as his engine manufacturer.
Michael Andretti stands with Alexander Rossi back in April at Long Beach – INDYCAR Media Site
On Saturday, Rossi and Andretti Autosport announced an extension for the foreseeable future. Sponsors NAPA and Auto Nation step up their commitment and Honda is secured as a provider for Andretti’s car for the long term future as well.
During a media availability, the word “family” was used a lot by all sides. See, the way things are run at Andretti, it’s a testament to their success.
“It means everything,” Rossi said. “At the end of the day when all this started, Andretti Autosport and Honda, we all have the same intentions, the same outlook. It was just a matter of finding a way to put all the pieces together and make it work for everyone.
“There’s a lot of different factors that go into these decisions. It had to come together in the right way. It wouldn’t have been possible obviously without Michael and his team, JF and Doug Bresnahan, NAPA Auto Parts, AutoNation and Honda.
“It’s been an amazing season to be able to talk about the huge amount of trust in relationships. That’s really what made this decision what it is. This is home for me. This is the team I know. Michael gave me the opportunity in 2016 when I was an unknown to this series and really North American racing.
“What we’ve been able to grow through and accomplish in three and a half going on four years is sensational. I think we’re only going to get stronger, we’re only going to get better. The partnerships and commitments we have from Honda, NAPA, AutoNation are going to allow us to do this. We have big plans ahead.”
Ted Klaus of Honda Racing Development sees that family atmosphere and trust too.
“Honda is just so gratified to earn the confidence of Michael, the entire Andretti Autosport organization,” Klaus said on Saturday. “By extension, Michael then takes care of, just like all our other teams, takes care of the amazing drivers.
“I want you to realize that our amazing drivers, Alexander especially, they don’t only show their skills on the track. If you could see them away from the track, how they drive performance for the whole team, it’s really inspiring. We learn a lot from these drivers.”
Andretti, is just over joyed to have this done and to be able to look at a championship for 2019.
“Well, I think it’s great, for sure,” Andretti said. “We always talk about continuity. I think it’s great that this will be a second year in a row that we’re going into the year knowing that we have everybody that’s been with us the last few years. So that’s great.
“I think it’s fantastic for not only our team, but I think it’s great for the sport. I think it helps keep the balance of power right. I think it’s good for the competition for the future.
“I think Ted said, it’s relationships. It’s building great relationships. I think we’ve been able to do that where we don’t consider them sponsors, we consider them partners and part of our family. That’s just the way we feel about everybody that’s involved with this team. It starts to feel like a family atmosphere. I think that has a lot to do with it.
On top of it, we work very, very hard. We have great people helping to answer whatever questions come up so our partners get what they need to get out of the program. That’s very important.
We have to deliver not only on the track, but off the track. I think we have a great staff that does that.