INDIANAPOLIS — He is Michael Andretti, car owner and father. So just how was he supposed to feel at this moment?
The red flag has been waved at the Indianapolis 500. The race has been stopped long enough to clean up the debris from a crash. So there will be time for a scintillating finish. His main man, Ryan Hunter-Reay has the lead, with a six-lap trophy dash to come. So he gives him a pep talk before the restart.
He tells him he has the best car. He tells him to go win the race. He tells him to hold off those guys so close behind him, one of them named Marco Andretti. He tells him to beat his own son.
An hour later, he sits in the winning press conference, and Hunter-Reay is next to him, joyfully saying how he has dreamed about this since he was a little kid.
But somewhere else, now that the race is over and the crowds have gone home and the track is growing quiet, another driver aches with frustration. Marco Andretti has driven 500 miles this day and finished three-tenths of a second behind. Three-tenths of a second. And that was only third, with Helio Castroneves there, too.
Marco has dreamed about this since he was a little kid, too. His father inspired him to do it.
So what an unforgettable Indianapolis 500 it was for Michael Andretti. A tale of two emotions.
One minute, he was sharing the glow of victory with Hunter-Reay. Watching him drink the milk. Watching him kiss the bricks and pose for pictures and wave the American flag. Finally, a winner born in the USA, even if he won with a Honda engine.
The next, Michael was having a quick word with his deflated son.