Indy museum showcases Mario Andretti’s winning ways

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2021
Andretti
Mario Andretti: Icon exhibit includes cars he drove and wall-sized photos, including one of the kiss car owner Andy Granatelli planted on him after Andretti's Indy 500 victory in 1969 | Larry Edsall photos

In tribute to his victory in 1969, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum opened an exhibit, “Mario Andretti: Icon,” back on May 1. If you haven’t seen it — and the display is extremely well done — you need to do so soon because it ends November 10.

The Andretti display fills the upper level of the museum’s main display hall, though in some ways it spilled into part of the lower level, where there’s a tribute to Mario’s son, Michael, who didn’t win the 500 in 16 attempts as a driver, but who has been the winning car owner at the Brickyard five times. 

If you’re reading this, you likely know Mario’s story — immigration from Italy as a child; started racing with his twin brother, Aldo; and becoming the only driver to win the Indy 500, the Daytona 500 stock car race and the World Formula 1 Championship.

Chalk talk: Among the Mario memorabilia on display is this pit board used during the 1991 season

The museum tells the story with dozens of cars raced by Andretti, each accompanied by a detailed display board, with a re-creation of one of the 1960s-era Gasoline Alley garages, with wall-size photos, and with assorted Andretti memorabilia, some of which fills an additional room down the hallway on the left. 

It’s an amazing array and if you haven’t seen it already, you only have another month or so to experience it. 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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