The Andretti Family is motorsport racing royalty.
Mario Gabriele Andretti was born February 28, 1940, in what is now Croatia. His family, which includes twin brother Aldo Andretti, fled their homeland in 1948, living in a refugee camp in Lucca, Italy, for seven years. The family settled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where the brothers began racing on oval dirt tracks near their home. The twins enjoyed success racing modified stock cars and USAC sprint cars before Aldo suffered severe injuries during a crash in 1969, forcing his retirement. Meanwhile, Mario Andretti enjoyed unprecedented success as a driver, becoming one of only two drivers—along with Dan Gurney–to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR. Mario is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and Formula One world championship. Along with Juan Pablo Montoya, he is the only driver to win races in NASCAR Sprint Cup, Formula One and Indy. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti’s victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. With 109 career wins, Mario Andretti is the only person to be named U.S. Driver of the Year in three decades [1967, 1978, 1984]. He is the first to win IndyCar races in four different decades and first to win auto races of any kind in five. Mario Andretti competed 29 times in the Indianapolis 500, winning in 1969. In 2000, he was named Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and RACER magazine.
Michael Andretti is Mario’s oldest son, born October 5, 1962. He was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 1984 and twice nearly won the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” In 1991, he led with 12 laps remaining before losing to Rick Mears. The following year, he led with eleven laps to go before a failed fuel pump knocked him out of the race. A legend in CART, Michael Andretti is the third most successful driver in that circuit’s history, with 42 wins. He won the 1991 CART IndyCar World Series championship, finished third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1983 and had four Top Five finishes in 16 starts at Indy. In those 16 career starts, Michael Andretti led 431 laps at Indianapolis but never enjoyed a swig of the championship milk. As an owner, Michael has won the Indy 500 three times.
John Andretti, born March 12, 1963, is Mario’s second son. John has won in CART, IMSA, GTP, Rolex Sports Car Series and NASCAR Southwest Series. John Andretti has competed in the Indianapolis 500 twelve times. Jeff Andretti, younger brother to Michael and John, was born April 14, 1964. He has raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona, NASCAR Truck Series, Champ Car, and has run in the Indy 500 five times, including 1991, when he was named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
Marco Andretti, born March 13, 1987, drives the Number 27 car for his father Michael, owner of Andretti AutoSport. He debuted at the Indianapolis 500 in 2006, finishing second to Sam Hornish, Jr. in the second-closest finish in Indy history, to become the third Andretti to finish in the Top Five in their first appearance at The Brickyard. Three months later, Marco Andretti became the youngest winner [19 years, 167 days] of a major open-wheel racing event with his first career victory in Sonoma. Marco has two wins, four poles and was has appeared in ten straight Indy 500s. In 2006, he became the third Andretti to be named Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. Adam Andretti, born March 24, 1979, has raced in sports cars, NASCAR and IndyCar. The son of Aldo Andretti, he drove in the 24 Hours of Daytona and, in 2000, won a race in U.S. Formula 3. Jarett Andretti is John’s son and cousin of Marco. He is currently competing in both the USAC National Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series, a 50-race season run on dirt and paved tracks. Jarett Andretti earned Rookie of the Year honors at Lawrenceburg [IN] Speedway in 2013.
The Indianapolis 500, along with the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans, is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the three most prestigious motorsport events in the world. Billed as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, The Brickyard will host the 100th running of the Indy 500 in May 2016. The Andretti Family has started in the Indianapolis 500 on 70 occasions, with their only win coming with Mario’s victory in 1969. This perpetual string of bad luck is known as the “Andretti Curse.” Also known as “Andretti Luck,” it is open-wheel racing’s equivalent of the “Curse of the Billy Goat” [Daily Dose, October 6].