Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Mario Andretti Story - Part Four; The Later Years

Mario Andretti
(Photo: Mario Andretti signing Andretti Winery bottles for WCLM via photopin)
Mario and his wife Dee Ann live near their grandson Marco in mansions in Bushkill Township, Pennsylvania. Dee Ann is a native of Nazareth who taught English to Andretti in 1961. Dee Ann and Mario were married on November 25, 1961.

Andretti has kept active after his retirement from full-time racing. He makes numerous speaking engagements before corporate audiences and is a spokesman for longtime sponsors Texaco/Havoline, Firestone and Magnaflow performance exhaust. He was occasionally a spokesman for the defunct Champ Car World Series, though he frequently attended IRL races to watch Marco compete. He owns a chain of gasoline stations, a Toyota dealership in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, car washes, car-care products, go-kart tracks, a clothing line, video games and replica cars. He also test drives cars for Road & Track and Car and Driver magazines. In July 2006 Andretti took part in the Bullrun race across America. The first pitstop was at the Pocono Raceway, with Gate No. 5 aptly named Andretti Road. Since 2012 Andretti has been the official ambassador for the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) and the United States Grand Prix promoting awareness of Formula 1 in the United States and all forms of motorsports at COTA.

Andretti is vice chairman of a winery named Andretti Winery in Napa Valley, California.

(Photo: Andretti Winery, Napa Valley, California, USA via photopin) 
Mario Andretti was featured in the 2007 documentary A State of Vine, where he commented on his wine-making activities.

Andretti played himself on three episodes of the United States television show Home Improvement. He also appears in films such as the IMAX movie Super Speedway, about the making of Newman/Haas Racing cars, as well as being about Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti. Mario is also in the Pixar Animation Studios film Cars, where his voice is used for a cameo in which he plays the 1967 Ford Fairlane in which he won the Daytona 500, a parody of his own success in that race.
(Photo: Mario via photopin (license))
The Mario Andretti character from the movie Cars.

Mario appeared in the off-road racing documentary Dust to Glory as the race grand marshal, where the movie documents the 2004 Baja 1000 race. Mario also wrote a racing column for the Indianapolis Star where he wrote about other drivers, equipment and cars. He has a voice part in the movie Turbo.

Mario had a long career in racing, spanning five decades, going on to become an International star. Known for his versatility as a driver, he is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR, the other being Dan Gurney. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship, and, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti's victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Mario had 109 career wins on major circuits. He was the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades, 1967, 1978, and 1984. He was also one of only three drivers to win races on road courses, paved ovals, and dirt tracks in one season, a feat that he accomplished four times. With his final Indy Car win in April 1993, Andretti became the first driver to win Indy Car races in four different decades and the first to win automobile races of any kind in five.

Mario Andretti Awards & Achievements;
Named the "Driver of the Century" by the Associated Press and RACER magazine.

2012 Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Inductee.

2000 International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee.

1996 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee.

1992 named Driver of the Quarter Century.

1990 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee

1978–1979 International Race of Champions series champion.

1978 Formula One World Championship.

1974 USAC national dirt track champion.

1972 6 Hours of Daytona.

1969 Indianapolis 500 winner.

1967 Daytona 500 winner.

Three time 12 Hours of Sebring winner, 1967, 1970, & 1972.

Four time IndyCar champion, 1965, 1966, 1969, & 1984

1969 ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year.

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