Marco Andretti went on to score his best road course finish of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series when he drove the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink car to third place Sunday in the Indy Japan finale at Twin Ring Motegi.
Andretti, the Iowa oval winner in June, started tenth and drove brilliantly to return to the podium after 63 laps at the 2.98-mile, 14-turn road circuit. Scott Dixon and Will Power finished in front of Andretti Sunday. Andretti’s previous 2011 best road racing finishes were fourth at Brazil and Toronto.
The third place finish moved Marco into seventh in the current IZOD IndyCar Series point standings with two races remaining on the 17-race campaign. Marco is now just 25 points from the top-five in the standings.
Marco Andretti led the Andretti Autosport contingent in the first round of practice runs Friday when the driver of the No. 26 Team Venom Energy Drink car secured a top-five position at Twin Ring Motegi’s road circuit – something that put a marker down for the weekend.
The 26-driver field made its initial appearance at the 2.98-mile, 14-turn road course for the first time after 13 years competing at the 1.5-mile oval in the Northern Japan racing facility. The road circuit has been a regular stop for the MotoGP, Formula Nippon and other racing events since the motorsports plant opened in 1996.
Marco advanced through the first round of qualifying Saturday and just missed the Firestone Fast Six round by a few tenths of a second on the smooth 2.98-mile, 14-turn road circuit. He would start the race from 10th. Marco’s time was one minute, 38.9058 seconds for an average speed of 108.576 mph. Scott Dixon took pole position at 109.143 mph.