Chat with John Andretti
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, NASCAR driver John Andretti will stop by to talk about the Chase. He will appear on NASCAR Now at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Andretti drives the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports, though the team has struggled to find full-time sponsors for the 2010 season. He is a member of the legendary Andretti racing family. His father, Aldo, had a racing career cut short by an accident. However, Aldo's twin brother Mario won four IRL championships, one Formula One title, the Daytona 500 and Indy 500.
Send your questions now and join Andretti Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:30 PM)
NASCAR driver John Andretti will be here shortly to take your questions!
Buzzmaster (12:32 PM)
John is here!
Aj (Indy )
Stewart wins at Atlanta, almost won at New Hampshire, then wins at California. That's 3 out of the past 6 race's. Why are people not giving him a chance to win the Chase ? I heard multiple times that he is all but out of it during Sunday's race.
John Andretti (12:34 PM)
Well, I don't know if people aren't giving him a chance to win, but I think people are looking at the last four years of history of the Chase with Jimmie Johnson. He's leading right now. In this Chase, if you're going to beat Johnson, you need to have a lot of really good days. Stewart can do it. If Jimmie were fifth in the points right now, there would be four guys ahead of him that had a chance to win. But he's leading right now.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Hey John, do you feel the championship will go down to it's final race at Homestead?
John Andretti (12:35 PM)
I do, mathematically, it always has. That's why they went with the Chase format, to create that championship right to the end. But I think it might only be a mathematical. Jimmie may never win at Homestead, because he's racing for a bigger picture, and the championship. I'm not giving him the trophy, but four years in a row, leading the points now, pretty hard to bet against him.
What is the main diffrences in drining a IRL and Nascar
John Andretti (12:37 PM)
The same thing is they are both racing. The differences is everything else. But the people, the way they respond and communicate, it's a different environment on both sides. The cars, obviously, are totally different. In IndyCar, you don't race like a stock car, you're not racing for position. I think a lot of us were taught, like me, when I came over that we fought for every lap, like we do in IRL. But in stock car, I learned that you can give the guy track position, because you'll just get it back later.
how difficult is the economic situation in NASCAR?
John Andretti (12:40 PM)
I think that what happened, in any business, when the revenue stream shrinks, you steamline your business model. Racing, you will spend every dollar that you take in. R+D never ends. Money by speed is what they say. The bigger teams, therefore, make progress quicker. Hiring all of the right people all of the way through. That's a resource that costs a lot of money. All of these teams are going to be better business models but you're not going to see it on the track. People have just gotten smarter with their expense side. It makes a difference, but racing has always been behind any economic downturn and then it's slower on the upside. It's because contracts are written out for longterm.
Ryan (Ventura CA)
John ,Smoke needs 18 points a race the next six on Jimmie. Doable?
John Andretti (12:42 PM)
Yeah, I think the race is not just between Stewart and Jimmie. The race is between Jimmie and 11 other guys and right now there are four within reach. Hamlin has had a good season and he's right behind him. The problem is that Jimmie is strong at a lot of tracks. What Tony needs to do, and these other guys, and they already know this, is that Jimmie needs to be behind them. Right now, you have a different winner, and Jimmie is the next guy behind him. So, Jimmie keeps pulling away. Right now, he's stronger than he has been all season. Him and Hamlin can pull off some consecutive wins and that's what it's going to take.
John Andretti (12:42 PM)
Jeff Gordon. How do you run second eight times this year? He could have 80 more points if he had won those races. There's a guy who could have had the tables turned. It's exciting to watch.
phil (new jersey)
whats more difficult for you indy cars or stock cars?
John Andretti (12:44 PM)
Not to be simplistic, but the one that handles worst. I've had bad handling cars in each. In IRL, if it's handling poorly, bad becomes ugly quickly. You can fight with a stock car. Both are fun to drive when they're right. And both are zero fun to drive when they're wrong.
what's your favorite track?
John Andretti (12:45 PM)
Well, I have to say that the track that I've been looking forward to going to the most, the race track more than anything else, Indianapolis. It's the track, the history of it, the immortality of being successful there. As far as driving, I love short track racing, dirt track racing. If I could make a living on dirt track racing, I would be doing it.
Susan (Richmond, VA)
How is your father doing?
John Andretti (12:46 PM)
Thanks for asking. He's doing great. He's getting ready to come back down to Carolina and watch my son race. He's doing well. I appreciate people asking. It's funny when I go places, people ask me how my dad or my wife is doing. Never me! But I do appreciate it.
what are the family functions like?
John Andretti (12:47 PM)
Well, I can tell you that if you don't like racing, the family reunion is not where you want to be. I have a saying that he who gets hurt last, wins. We're braver than we are smart. Even a nice little common activity, whether it's starting a fire in the fireplace or walking outside, everything is the competition.
John Andretti (12:48 PM)
And it's usually Michael that gets hurt first. Never in a race car, but they reserve a hospital room for him.
Ricky (Yuba City)
Guess who??!! Biffle. Love watching you John! But, I've got to say that the Biff is my boy. Are you guys all buddies after the races are over? It would seem that the closeness of the sport would allow you to all be buddies. I thought we were all buddies. Or do you think the buddy angle is perhaps over-played? Thanks!
John Andretti (12:50 PM)
You separate the two and we are friends. You're friends because of how your lives align with each other. If you have kids, you kind of become friends with other guys who have kids around the same age. Jeff Burton is like that with our family. It's something that happens with motorsports. It's a big family. My wife works out with several of the other wives. It's very much a community. But when you put on the helmets, most can separate the two and see that whatever happens on the track is their job. It's their office. When family gets around, that's family time. There are hard feelings at times, but the friendships last longer. NASCAR is great about it, because they understand. The drivers are very very lucky. The crew guys are the ones that lose out because they can't bring their families to the track. It's a demanding job.
John Andretti (12:52 PM)
I haven't been out there for a while. I don't know what the future is going to hold. My kids are getting older. Trying to get racing and family time in is getting to be much more difficult. My life is changing, but I still love racing. I'll be back on the race track again in 2011. I'm not sure where, but I will be there for the Indy 500.
Buzzmaster (12:52 PM)
Thanks for chatting John!