Marco Andretti takes pole at Indy 500, first for family in 33 years

17 August 2020 - 09:30 By Reuters
Marco Andretti has claimed pole position for the 2020 Indy 500.
Marco Andretti has claimed pole position for the 2020 Indy 500.
Image: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

A member of the Andretti family won pole position at the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in more than three decades on Sunday, as Marco Andretti beat eight other drivers during a qualifying run.

He is the first in his family to do so since his grandfather - 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti - was last on pole in 1987.

The 33-year-old Andretti said he was screaming in his helmet after the win until he began to lose his voice.

“Everybody is thinking I'm crying, but I just can't talk right now. I was emotional. We put so much into it,” Andretti said in remarks posted to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway site. “This place means so much to us as a family.”

The elder Andretti said in a televised interview: “I'm happier now than I've ever been.”

“When he crossed that line and he was on pole, I jumped so high that I hit my head on the ceiling - and it's a nine-foot ceiling,” said the Hall of Famer, considered one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.

Marco will contend the Indy 500 in a race unlike any seen in years past, with organisers forbidding attendees due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the race itself taking place three months after it was originally scheduled.