Dec 29, 2013, 7:58 PM EDT
UPDATE (7:58 p.m. ET): J. Douglas Boles, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has issued the following statement regarding the death of Andy Granatelli this afternoon:
“Andy Granatelli – known appropriately as ‘Mister 500′ – understood better than anyone the spirit and challenge of the Indianapolis 500 and had a remarkable ability to combine innovative technologies with talented race car drivers to make his cars a threat to win at Indianapolis every year.
“Andy leaves a legacy of historic moments that will live forever in Indianapolis 500 lore including his famous turbine that dominated the 1967 Indianapolis 500, the Lotus 56 of 1968, and giving the great Mario Andretti a kiss on the cheek in victory lane after his 1969 win. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family, friends and legion of fans.”
Andy Granatelli (pictured, from 2010), former CEO of the STP motor oil company and one of the more notable innovators in the history of the Indianapolis 500, has passed away at the age of 90.
According to the Associated Press, his son, Vince, confirmed that he died of congestive heart failure earlier today in a hospital in Santa Barbara, California.
A member of multiple racing Halls of Fame, Granatelli was a significant figure for the “500,” especially in the late 1960s and 1970s. In the 1967 and 1968 races, he fielded radical, turbine-powered cars that did well but ultimately lost out in both races.
In ’67, Parnelli Jones lost a potential win with only a few laps to go when a transmission bearing failed and forced him to retire. Then in ’68, Joe Leonard suffered a fuel pump shaft failure while leading and also had to retire in the final moments.
But in 1969, Granatelli finally had his day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Mario Andretti, driving with a more conventional engine, took his STP-backed No. 2 machine to victory over Dan Gurney.
Granatelli expressed his appreciation by kissing Andretti on the cheek in Victory Lane, creating one of the most beloved images in “500” history. Andretti has tweeted the following on Granatelli’s death this evening:
Four years later, in 1973, Granatelli would earn a second and final “500” win as a car owner thanks to driver Gordon Johncock.
“The thing that gave him the most gratification in his life was what he did at the Indianapolis 500,” Vince Granatelli told the AP.
But while Granatelli made an impact on the track, he did the same off of it as well by making STP one of the most well-known automotive brands in the world. In addition to serving as the product’s spokesman, Granatelli was instrumental in bringing STP on as a sponsor for NASCAR’s “King,” Richard Petty.
After a brief disagreement over what color Petty’s car would be (Granatelli wanting his STP day-glo red, Petty wanting his traditional ‘Petty blue’), a compromise was struck with both colors set to be used on the car.
The final result was one of the most iconic paint jobs in all of American motorsports, and to this day, Petty’s partnership with STP continues even though he ended his driving career in 1992. It is considered one of the most important sponsorship deals in NASCAR history.
Granatelli also served as a promoter of racing events during World War II, and is remembered especially for his work as president of the Hurricane Racing Association, a group that fielded both hot rod and stock car events at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Granatelli’s family and friends at this time.
McLaren seeks big improvements in Barcelona after challenging tests, progression in first four races
May 6, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
McLaren looks for more in Barcelona.
May 6, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT
Monaco gets a tune-up weekend with FIA Formula E this weekend, and most of the field has past track experience.
May 6, 2015, 3:31 PM EDT
The NHRA said Wednesday that the Kansas Nationals will go on as scheduled, May 22-24, despite the Topeka City Council voting Tuesday against the purchase of Heartland Park Topeka.
May 6, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
Update to various engines for manufacturer points.
May 6, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
Same brew. New livery.
May 6, 2015, 12:37 PM EDT
Stefano Coletti returns to a track he won at nearly a decade ago, a rare track he knows in his rookie IndyCar season.
May 6, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT
Carlos Huertas set for return at Dale Coyne Racing for this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
May 6, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
After a decent start on pace, Simon Pagenaud looks for results to match to kick off the month of May.
May 6, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
McLaren’s new darker graphite grey livery is unveiled.
May 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno speaks to Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles for an overview on the present plans and the future outlook as IMS rolls into the 2015 Month of May and ahead into 2016.
May 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
Fast facts heading into this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, courtesy of IndyCar PR staff.
May 5, 2015, 9:31 PM EDT
If it has four wheels, Bryan Clauson has likely raced it in his career.
May 5, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Without a full-time ride for this season, Justin Wilson is happy to be back in a race car and to have a ride for at least the next two races.
May 5, 2015, 6:02 PM EDT
Helio Castroneves hopes to enjoy the appetizer this weekend and then sink his teeth into the main course two weeks later.
May 5, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT
AJ Foyt’s No. 48 Honda-powered Dallara will have history written all over it in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 5, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT
At a time when many people would be embracing retirement, legendary NHRA drag racer John Force just keeps motoring along.
May 4, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT
Road America invests millions into some track upgrades for 2015.
May 4, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
Nastia Liukin named grand marshal for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
May 4, 2015, 1:33 PM EDT
Videos from the debut of the new Ligier JS P2 Hondas for Tequila Patron ESM at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.
May 4, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
Mann gets back to work behind the wheel and has a very good first day of running at IMS.
- NHRA to go ahead with Topeka race May 22-24, despite City Council vote against racetrack purchase 1
- New McLaren Honda livery revealed 1
- Q&A: IMS President Doug Boles heading into 2015 Month of May, 2016 planning 0
- Indiana native Bryan Clauson ready for special Indy 500 return 5
- On eve of 300th IndyCar start, Helio Castroneves eyes record-tying fourth Indy 500 win 3
- Alex Tagliani to drive 3rd AJ Foyt car in Indy 500, will pay tribute to Dan Gurney 3
- NHRA legend John Force turns 66, not slowing down any time soon 2