John Andretti, a member of one of auto racing’s most famous families and the first driver to attempt the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s 600-mile race in North Carolina on the same day, has died. He was 56 and spent the past three years battling colon cancer.
Andretti’s cousin, Michael, and his uncle, Mario, are racing legends. But John developed his own fan base at Indy in part because he was the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day double — running in both the 500 and the 600-mile night race outside Charlotte, N.C.
He raced 12 times in open wheels at the Indy 500 but spent the bulk of his career in NASCAR's top series, running 393 races. He won twice: in the 1997 summer race at Daytona and in 1999 at Martinsville, winning for Petty Enterprises in the iconic No. 43 car.
In addition to his extensive racing family, Andretti is survived by his wife Nancy and children Jarett, Olivia and Amelia.