The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will honor 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his illustrious racing career with the exhibit, “Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, opening to the public Wednesday, May 1.
The exhibit is part of a comprehensive 50th anniversary celebration of Andretti’s dramatic victory at the 53rd running of the “500.” Andretti led 116 laps and delivered a popular, long-awaited victory for colorful car owner Andy Granatelli, despite having to race in a backup car and race-long engine overheating issues.
“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, will bring together many of the most significant cars in Andretti’s career at the IMS Museum – cars which also represent significant milestones in motorsports history given Andretti’s accomplishments.
Andretti is the only driver in history to have won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and a Formula 1 World Championship. The Associated Press and RACER Magazine named him “Driver of the Century” in 2000, and he’s the only driver to earn “Driver of the Year” in three decades (1967, 1978, 1984).
The featured exhibits of “Mario Andretti: ICON,” are a full representation of the Nazareth, Pa., resident’s diverse career. A sampling of this can’t-miss exhibit includes:
The John Player Special Lotus Type 79-4, from the 1978 F1 World Championship run
The 1974 Vel’s Parnelli Jones team Formula 1 car
1967 Dean Van Lines Brawner Hawk II Indy 500 pole-winner
1967 Watson Leader Card Sprint car
The 1967 Daytona 500-winning car
A 1994 Lola T9400 from his “Arrivederci Mario” farewell season
The Horn Offenhauser Sprint Car, named “Baby,” from Andretti’s first Sprint car race.
Many other notable cars, firesuits, helmets and memorabilia will be part of “Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+. An audio tour featuring stories from Andretti, his longtime rivals A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, and team owner Roger Penske will provide entertaining, behind-the-scenes insight into his career.
“Winning the Indianapolis 500 changed my life and Indy has been like a second home for my family for a very long time, so I’m very much looking forward to everything the Museum and the Speedway have planned in May,” said Andretti. “To be called an “icon” is extremely humbling, but the collection put together by the IMS Museum staff is phenomenal. I cannot wait to see this exhibit and share my story with the fans from around the world who will see it in the coming months.”
Andretti also won four IndyCar championships and major sports car events such as the 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring – three times. But what truly sets Andretti apart from other racing legends is his incredible versatility. He regularly competed on dirt ovals, paved speedways and international road courses within a matter of days.
For instance, in the 12 weeks from Aug. 25-Nov. 17, 1968, he raced 12 times, in USAC Champ Cars and Stock Cars, F1 and the Can-Am series, earning two victories and seven top-five finishes. After qualifying on pole Sept. 7 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ dirt mile for the “Hoosier Hundred,” and finishing second, he flew all night to Monza, Italy, for the F1 Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 8 – only to learn another team had protested his inclusion in the GP, and he wouldn’t race, because he had raced within 24 hours!
Merchandise featuring the Mario Andretti 50th Anniversary logo will be available throughout the Month of May at the IMS Gift Shops around IMS, including those in the Museum, and online. Check the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website, www.ims.com, for a schedule of special events honoring Andretti during the 2019 Indianapolis 500.
“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+ will be open through November 10.