Saturday 25th April 1959
Mario Andretti made his racing debut driving his own 1948 Hudson to victory at the Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. While most people remember Mario either for his success at Indy or for his Formula One Championship, he started his career as an American stock car racer. His career as a stock car racer reached its apex in 1967 when Mario won the Daytona 500. Driving for the Ford team, Andretti was forced to overcome the influence of the team’s ownership in his bid to defeat the team’s first driver Fred Lorenzen. Mario held off Lorenzen even though Lorenzen had been able to draft him for most of the race and is one of only three drivers in history to have won races on paved ovals, road courses, and dirt tracks in a single season. Andretti and A.J. Foyt are the only men to have won both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500, and Mario is second only to Foyt in Indy Car victories. He has career Indy Car earnings of $11,552,154. Mario’s Formula One Championship gave him the diversified credentials that led motor sports media members to vote him the driver of the century. He retired from racing in 1994.