Michael Andretti expected to make Indy 500 return

Sunday, December 18th 2005, 11:39 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Michael Andretti was expected to announce that he will drive in next year's Indianapolis 500 after a two-year absence.

His son, Marco, will also drive full-time in the Indy Racing League in 2006 for Andretti Green Racing. The team, which is co-owned by Andretti, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning to announce its 2006 plans.

An IRL official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team's announcement was pending, confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that Andretti had decided to return to the driver's seat.

Andretti retired following the 2003 Indianapolis 500 with distinction of leading the most laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway _ 426 in 14 starts _ without winning at least once.

His team won this year's race with driver Dan Wheldon, who also won the 2005 championship but said last month he is leaving Andretti to drive for Target Chip Ganassi Racing next season.

Marco, who will turn 19 in March, would replace Wheldon. Andretti has three other full-time drivers _ Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta _ returning next year.

Team spokesman Al Larsen said Monday he could not confirm either move.

Andretti, whose father Mario won the 1969 Indianpolis 500 and the 1978 Formula One championship, was one of several second generation drivers that joined the Indy car circuit in the 1980s and 1990s.