FONTANA, Calif. — Mario Andretti is still very much a part of grandson Marco's career.
"I think he thinks he retired too early, because he still wants to be behind the wheel," Marco Andretti said Friday before practice for the IndyCar season finale at Auto Club Speedway. "He is when I'm driving. It feels like he's right there. If he's not at the racetrack, we're talking on the phone. He's always checking in and fishing to see if I say something that triggers him to give me some good advice."
Andretti announced Friday a two-year contract renewal to keep him with Andretti Autosport, the team owned by his father, Michael Andretti. The deal includes a renewal of Dr Pepper Snapple Group's sponsorship deal with Andretti Autosport, which will enter its eighth season in 2014.
Mario, 73, is a regular at IndyCar races, driving the two-seat car that takes fans around the track and making appearances on behalf of several IndyCar-related businesses and sponsors.
Marco, 26, is completing his eighth and most successful career in the Izod IndyCar Series. He is fifth in the IndyCar standings heading into Saturday's MAVTV 500.
Andretti had 14 top-10 finishes this season, and still listens to a grandfather who won a Formula One championship, four IndyCar championships, the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.
BY THE NUMBERS: Marco Andretti's career statistics
"A lot of it at this level you just have to go out and learn," Marco said. "It's still a racecar; it's still a similar piece to what he drove back in the day. He has a lot to offer."
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