Nine years ago today at Iowa Speedway, Marco Andretti found victory lane for the second time in his IndyCar career. He hasn’t been back since.
After holding off 2004 IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan in the closing laps of the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway, Marco Andretti ended what was a 77-race win drought dating back to his rookie season when he won the 2006 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway.
It has now been nine years since Andretti, who did not lead any of the other 16 races on the schedule in 2011, took the checkered flag in his #26 Venom Energy Drink-sponsored Andretti Autosport Honda by 0.793 seconds ahead of Kanaan, netting him his second career IndyCar victory.
He hasn’t won since.
The active win drought of the 33-year-old Nazareth, Pennsylvania native has reached a daunting 144 races, making it nearly twice as long as the win drought he ended when his active one began.
Only one other full-time driver who has been victorious before has an active win drought of more than 44 races — 100 races fewer than Andretti’s. That lone driver, Charlie Kimball, has competed in 97 races since winning at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August of 2013. Kimball did not compete full-time in the 2019 season, whereas Andretti has not missed a race since he began competing at the highest level of American open-wheel racing 14 seasons ago.
Since he most recently won at Iowa Speedway, Andretti has secured three runner-up finishes, all behind teammates. He finished in second place behind Hunter-Reay at Iowa Speedway in 2012, second behind Hunter-Reay at Barber Motorsports Park in 2014 and second behind Carlos Munoz at Belle Isle Park in 2015.
Perhaps even more alarmingly, two days from now is the five-year anniversary of his most recent podium finish. Saturday, June 27, 2015 is when Andretti secured his latest top three result, that being a third place finish at Auto Club Speedway.
Notably, if not for the last-lap wreck involving teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe in that race , Andretti probably would have won. He stormed from 11th to third place following the final restart with three laps to go on fresh tires, but the final lap was run under caution, and he finished behind Graham Rahal, who ended a 124-race win drought of his own, and Kanaan.
Since he most recently finished on the podium, he has secured only three top five finishes. He finished in fourth place on the streets of Toronto in 2017, fourth at Belle Isle Park in 2018 after starting from the pole position and fifth at Sonoma Raceway later that year. In two of the last four seasons, he hasn’t even managed to record a single top five finish.
Will Andretti ever find victory lane again to end what has become the sport’s most agonizing win drought? A total of 13 races remain on the 2020 schedule, including two at Iowa Speedway. But over the last five years, he has finished no higher than seventh place at any of the venues remaining on the calendar. He opened the season with a 14th place finish at Texas Motor Speedway.