Super Mario Comeback? At 73, Mario Andretti wants 1 more endurance race with son, grandson

  • Article by: DAN GELSTON , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 5, 2013 - 2:40 PM

LONG POND, Pa. — Mario Andretti wants one more race, family style.

At 73, Andretti has been long retired from racing, and one of open wheels all-time greats hasn't turned a competitive lap since a spectacular crash during practice for the 2003 Indianapolis 500.

Andretti, though, hasn't completely put the idea of one final race out of his mind. He's serious when he says he wants to team up with son, Michael, and grandson, Marco, for an endurance race like the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona or 24 Hours of Le Mans.

"I'd do it," Mario Andretti said. "There's no point in me coming back unless there's a compelling a reason."

And there's no more compelling reason than family ties on the track.

Don't start dreaming of the greatest comeback in motor sports just yet. There's one big hitch.

"Marco would do it. Michael doesn't want to do it," Mario said. "He's much younger than I am and he says he's too old. You figure that out. But if I can convince Michael to do it, I'll do it. I would. I still have the competitive spirit, which is good."

His grandfather's dream of an Andretti reunion seemed like fun for 26-year-old Marco, who posted fast practice times this week at Pocono Raceway. The third-generation driver said Mario would be "up to the task," of becoming a tag-team partner in the annual races.

"He would start and finish and dad and I would do all the brunt work," Marco Andretti said.

Told Michael had balked, Marco hardly seemed surprised.

"I think dad doesn't love it like me and my grandfather," he said. "He was just very good and he knew he was good. But I think he's really happy and content where he's at and he's doing a heck of a job there, too, as an owner."

Mario Andretti won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and went on to a long, brilliant career before he retired from IndyCar in 1994. He last got behind the wheel for a lap in 2003 when he tested a car for Michael at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti's car hit debris left when Kenny Brack's car hit the wall, sending his car flying through the air and flipping end over end. He walked away unhurt.

"I figured, I'm going to meet my creator. I didn't know which way I was going to go," he said. "But I was OK. It wasn't my fault. I was in my element. I was lucky as hell. I landed on the wheels and only got a scratch."

But that was it for Andretti. Even though he won Indy and Michael has celebrated two 500 victories as an owner, the accident is just another part of the "Andretti Curse," that reigns at IMS.

"They always have to talk about something," Mario said. "But we've had great times there, just tough times really finishing when we were dominating. Not only myself, Michael as well. Were we capable of winning multiple times? Damn right."

Pocono, back on the IndyCar slate for the first time since 1989, is a hometown track for the Andrettis, who hail from nearby Nazareth. But Mario's been commuting this week from his house near Lake Wallenpaupack, about an hour north of the track.

He's also keeping busy. Andretti voices a character in the upcoming movie "Turbo," the animated story of a snail with amazing speed who takes on the Indianapolis 500.

While he no longer attends each race, he feels IndyCar can rival or top any series in the world when it comes to quality competition. Even if TV ratings and attendance can use a boost, the on-track product is as strong as ever.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 6:00 PM
Orlando
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 12:30 PM
Youngstown St
Jackson State 1:00 PM
Tulane
Siena 5:00 PM
Radford
Stillman 6:00 PM
Alabama
Case Western Reserve 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Niagara 6:00 PM
Buffalo
SD Christian 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Concordia (MI) 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Kent State
Central Penn College 6:00 PM
Liberty
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Mercer
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Morehead State
Northern Ariz 6:00 PM
Norfolk State
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
St Johns
Clemson 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Tennessee
Washington-MD 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Ohio Valley 10:00 AM
Youngstown St
East Tenn St 10:30 AM
UNC-Wilmington
Louisiana 11:00 AM
Alcorn State
Cal-Irvine 11:00 AM
Purdue
Campbell 12:00 PM
Stetson
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Denver 1:30 PM
Wright State
Texas State 2:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Blue Mountain 2:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Albany 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
TX-San Antonio 3:00 PM
Houston
Yale 3:30 PM
Bucknell
Northern Colorado 3:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Belmont 4:00 PM
Mercer
Massachusetts 4:00 PM
Georgia State
George Mason 4:05 PM
Winthrop
Portland State 4:30 PM
Princeton
UCLA 5:00 PM
Samford
Mobile 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Nicholls 5:30 PM
Texas Tech
Toledo 5:30 PM
Nevada
UMass Lowell 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
Virginia
McNeese State 6:00 PM
Rice
McMurry 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
NJIT 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
(6) North Carolina 6:00 PM
Maine
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Siena 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Longwood 6:00 PM
Clemson
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Florida State
(19) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
La Salle
Canisius 6:00 PM
Michigan
Davidson 6:00 PM
NC State
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Delaware
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close