(CBS Local)- Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti are accomplished veterans of IndyCar racing with thousands of hours in the car across hundreds of races. But, even for these racing stars, there’s a level of uncertainty of what to expect when Superstar Racing Experience fires up the engines for the first time on June 12 at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut. That uncertainty is part of the fun for the two drivers however as they look to adapt to a new style of driving and an all-new car.
“You asked me earlier and I have no idea. I honestly think that’s what is going to be cool about it,” Andretti said in a media session Wednesday. “We’re going to find out. We’re going to see how we’re able to adapt. Us open wheel guys I feel like, it’s not really our sandbox, but I think that will be kind of fun for us to learn from the other guys and see how we adapt to it.”
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“I think it will be two races, the IndyCar guys in the back and the other guys in the front and eventually as we have six weekends to learn, that will change,” Kanaan said laughing. “But, I’m like Marco I have no idea what to expect. The only track I have been to is Eldora, I did Tony Stewart’s dirt race there a couple years back. The other tracks, no offense, I had no idea they existed so I have no idea. I actually I haven’t done my suit fit yet, I’m doing that next week which is the week of the race because of scheduling. I don’t know what to expect but one thing I’m certain of, we’re going to have a lot of fun that’s for sure.”
For Andretti, the series also gives him an opportunity to drive on the kinds of tracks that his grandfather, International Motorsports Hall of Famer Mario Andretti, got his start on.
“It’s totally cool. It’s something that I’ve never done. I’ve only run one night on dirt and only a few laps in each type of the cars,” Andretti said. “I’m ready to go try something new. I keep saying my goal this year is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s something that just driving disciplines forces you to do that.”
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The new car, designed and built specifically for SRX by co-founder and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham, has been a focus of all of the drivers as the preparations begin for the opening race. Learning and adapting to the car and how it drives is the biggest focus for Andretti entering Week 1.
“For me, it’s more about learning the car than the track because it’s super short and you have to learn the characteristics of what the car, the newness of it,” Andretti said. “So for me, it’s going to be learning more about the car than the track.”
When the series finally fires up the engines for the first time on June 12, Kanaan thinks that once race fans and even casual audiences get a look at the product, the series will quickly gain popularity.
“I love the way Tony and Ray embraced and built this thing. It’s very professional just look at how many partners we have. This series, it’s not a one off and we’re never going to see it again. It’s a big deal,” Kanaan said. “We’re taking it seriously and I think this series has a lot of potential to be even more fun and more popular once people see it.”
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Superstar Racing Experience begins on Saturday, June 12 at Stafford Speedway in primetime on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.