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(CNN) Be it on the radio, ...
(CNN) Be it on the radio, on television or in person, Rev. Will Marotti hasn't missed an Indianapolis 500 since 1969.
But this year is very different.
In the 100th running of the race, he
incredibly has the chance to win it.
In one of the unlikeliest stories of this year's Indy 500, there will be "no pastor faster" than Marotti, who is the owner of Marotti Racing, founded in 2015.
"It's curious, it's unique, but people have been very, very accepting and very gracious," Marotti
in a phone interview.
"And yeah, there's a few jokes along the way, like 'Jesus take the wheel' and the 'faster pastor' thing, but it's been a great experience."
Instead of buying a ticket and sitting with other fans, Marotti
will be watching the race at the timing stand with the engineers and the strategists who are in radio communication with the team, soaking it all in.
"I'm just here to learn," Marotti
"I've been a fan my entire life.
I know a lot about it because I've been a fan and I've been a very enthusiastic fan, but at this level, this is something I'm stepping into for the first time, so I am 100% a student."
Lifelong love of racing
Marotti, a senior pastor at the non-denominational New Life Church in Wallingford, Connecticut, said he fell in love with racing when he was a little boy, watching quarter midget racing at a local track with his father.
A little more than a year ago, he
started thinking about starting his
own racing team.
knew it wouldn't be easy, and he
knew it would be expensive, revealing that having one car for one month for the Indy 500 costs around $1 million.
has aligned with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with the No. 77 team car, which will start in the 10th position at Sunday's Indy 500.
has aligned with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with the No. 77 team car, which will start in the 10th position at Sunday's Indy 500
"When I started, I called the track first at Indianapolis and IndyCar
and told them what I wanted to do," Marotti
"They said, 'Listen, that's a great ambition, but understand this.
A thousand people a year like you call us saying they want to do this, and nothing ever takes place.' You're driving at something here that's extremely difficult to find, but none of the teams really took us seriously."
A pastor leading an IndyCar team does seem incredibly far-fetched, but Marotti pressed on, calling every IndyCar team that was out there.
"Our goal was pretty simple," Marotti
a phenomenal driver," Marotti
said of the 41-year-old.
"You're out on the basketball court," Marotti
voice quavering, "And in your mind, you're shooting for the last shot, and the buzzer goes off, and you let the ball go, and you swish it, and you win the championship, and you did it.
Will Marotti Team Owner
Will has been an avid racing fan since his
A graduate of the Skip Barber Racing School, he went on to attend Liberty Bible College and Kings Seminary.
wife (of twenty-seven years) Ann started the church serve with three other adults in 1999.
The church has grown to more 1,200 members and attenders, operates a daycare, a private school and a summer camp all on a 56 acre campus in Wallingford, CT. Will
intends to take his
passion for racing along with his
business start-up and team building skills to Indianapolis in 2016.
Home - Marotti Racing
Our founder, Will Marotti, shares a morning interview with Fox and Friends (click to view video)
About Us - Marotti Racing
Marotti Racing founded by Will Marotti
Will and Ann Marotti (married since 1988) also founded New Life Church in Wallingford CT with three others in 1999
Marotti owner Will Marotti ...
Marotti owner Will Marotti has frequently spoken of his desire to field an entry at Indy, and said that he looks forward to seeing that wish realized next month.
"We are thankful and excited beyond measure to be able to participate in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 with a team of the quality and caliber of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports," said Marotti