via Getty

via Getty

There are only a few legends whose names echo loudly in several motorsports halls of fame. Mario Andretti is one of them, being a beacon of inspiration for racers of all ages and disciplines. The 84-year-old veteran is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, Indy Car, the World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR.

After a breathtaking run in different races, Mario Andretti is still hungry for more. Formula One turned down the Andretti race team a spot in the series, but Mario is hopeful. Another ambition involves NASCAR, as the brilliant driver recently spilled.

Mario Andretti will not go gentle into that good night


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After immigrating from Italy at the age of 15, Mario Andretti and his brother Aldo immediately jumped into the world of racing. They began building their own race cars, and having a racetrack in their residential town in Pennsylvania helped. Mario started racing in 1959 and won 20 races during his first two seasons. That was only the beginning of an illustrious career.

Mario Andretti became the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, and the Formula One world championship. Few other drivers match his achievements, but Dale Earnhardt Jr compared him with Richard Petty. Dale Jr stated how both drivers “will remain involved in the sport in lots of ways.”

Mario Andretti readily agreed, recalling his last race and his undying love for gears. “I always said that I had a tough time really deciding when to come out of the cockpit…I was due to do that. In my last race, I was 60 years old at 24 Hours of Le Mans…I just love my driving so much. I don’t know anybody that could have enjoyed that and loved it more than I did. Maybe as much but not more.” 

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Michael Andretti, Mario’s son, fields Andretti Autosport in several series- but mainly in the NTT IndyCar Series, a team with four IndyCar championships and five Indianapolis 500 victories. His son’s ambitions propel him forward, as Mario let slip intentions to join NASCAR. “With Michael being involved in every aspect of our sport, that gives me reason to find a home no matter where I go. And pretty soon it’s gonna be a home even in Cup. And I hope I’m still alive for that.”

Mario Andretti robustly declared that he would not go gentle into that good night. But when his last days come, they need to be in style. “I always said, you know, I’m gonna go when they put me in a box. When they put me in a box, it better have wheels on it and a steering wheel.”


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Mario Andretti has lots left to witness. Besides a possible NASCAR entry, his family team might make it into F1 with enough resilience.

Andretti is eager for F1


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When Mario Andretti still lived in Italy, he and his brother Aldo’s first inspiration was an F1 race. They visited the 1954 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where the exotic Lancia, Maserati, and Ferrari Formula One cars left them spellbound. Sure enough, Andretti punched his own ticket into F1 in 1968. Eventually, in 1978, six race victories brought him the World Championship.


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Despite his glittering record, F1 authorities refused Andretti Autosport a ride this year. But the veteran is hopeful. Talking to The Athletic recently, Mario Andretti focused on the financial side. “We’ve been told the decision was not final, but then tell us what will make the decision for us to enter. But to show good faith, the team and Michael have been investing millions and millions of dollars, which is what it takes to form the team. And once we get a green light, we won’t start from scratch. The objective is to be on the grid in 2026.”

Hence, as both Formula One and NASCAR are on the Andretti family’s radar, Mario Andretti will stick around for a long time.