GREENFIELD — Just four days before the Indy 500, famed driver Marco Andretti made a pit stop in Greenfield to visit children at the Boys & Girls Club of Hancock County on Wednesday, May 22.

The visit was set up by Sam and Amanda Galbraith of Greenfield, whose company — GGT Energy Solutions Inc. — is a sponsor for Andretti’s team in Sunday’s big race.

Galbraith told the kids the Boys & Girls Club was like a second home to him and his brothers and sisters when they were growing up in a home just down the street.

“At the end of the day, it’s about making some very special memories,” he said in introducing them to the driver from the legendary racing dynasty.

Andretti, the grandson of Mario Andretti, has been racing all his life.

He became the first third-generation Rookie of the Year when he finished second in the Indianapolis 500 in 2006.

While he’s found success in many other races and racing circuits, he told the kids Wednesday how much winning Indy’s premier race would mean to him.

“I’ve never won the 500, so that’s what I’m gunning for,” he said.

Sunday, May 26 marks his 19th running in the Indianapolis 500.

He told the kids the race involves “a lot of adrenaline,” with speeds around 240 miles per hour — “a little faster than my drive I made here,” he said.

Because the kids at the Boys & Girls Club have a STEM center focused on science, technology, engineering and math, Galbraith asked Andretti questions about his job as it pertains to those areas.

Whipping around the oval track at 240 miles an hour creates a lot of downforce, said Andretti, which essentially pushes the cars down onto the pavement and helps keep them from flying off the track.

With 33 1,600-pound cars going that same speed around the track at the same time, “it gets pretty dicey,” he shared.

As for the insane speeds, “The cool way to think about it is if you think about the length of a football field, we can go that distance in one second,” he shared, eliciting an audible gasp from the kids.

Andretti shared that racing takes both a mental and physical toll on drivers throughout a race.

“It’s mentally draining because you have to spend such a long time with your focus so heightened,” he said.

It’s also physically challenging in that drivers are confined within a hot car for upwards of three hours.

“You can lose 10 pounds in that window, and it takes you a whole day to come back from it. You’ve got to re-hydrate,” he said.

Once Galbraith was done peppering Andretti with technical questions regarding the race, he opened the questioning up to the kids.

“I think I’m more nervous now than I was at qualifying,” Andretti quipped.

The kids hit the tough questions first, asking what sports he played as a kid.

Andretti said he played basketball and baseball, although he enjoys tennis as an adult.

Next question: What color is your race car? “Blue,” answered Andretti, pointing out the dark blue race team shirt he was wearing.

One child asked, “Do you feel guilty when you go that fast?”

“I feel guilty when I go slow,” he responded with a grin.

Andretti shared how professional drivers must remain laser-focused at all times.

“My eyes are locked so far ahead of me but I also have to be aware of what’s happening right next to me,” he said.

To give the kids a taste of what it feels like to drive a race car, the Galbraiths ended Wednesday’s presentation with a surprise — donating a racing simulator to the Boys & Girls Club on behalf of their company.

Andretti said the simulator is similar to the kind drivers use to simulate driving a course in preparation for a race.

Chantel Fowler, director of the Hancock County Boys & Girls Club, said the gift would make an amazing addition in the club’s STEM lab.

“I just want to thank them for coming and thank Sam for all the hard work he did to make this happen,” she said.

According to the Galbraiths’ company website, “GGT Energy Solutions is an experienced leader providing sustainable building automation, master integration and energy management related services.”

The locally-owned company does more than just sponsor Andretti. It also works with the team to identify new energy-saving opportunities for both Andretti’s teams and other partners.

“We partnered with Andretti this year as their sustainability partner,” said Galbraith, who is looking forward to watching the big race on Sunday.

He hoped Andretti’s visit to his old stomping grounds Wednesday would get kids thinking about how they might get involved in racing careers someday.

It takes each team 90 to 95 people to get the cars on the track, he told the kids.

“That includes engineers, accountants, mechanics, marketing people…so my point is just because you might not become a professional racecar driver doesn’t mean you can’t work in racing,” he said.