Dec 29, 2013, 7:58 PM EST
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.
Feb 1, 2015, 8:15 PM EST
Nissan has its first LMP1 driver named.
Feb 1, 2015, 8:03 PM EST
Say hello to the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO prototype – and one very well-made Super Bowl ad.
Feb 1, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
Dale Jr. tweets: “I’m gonna go Pats just cause Deflategate was damn ridiculous.”
Feb 1, 2015, 4:32 PM EST
IndyCar champ Will Power and teammates Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Simon Pagenaud are guests of Verizon for tonight’s Big Game.
Feb 1, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
Spanish sensation goes in search of a third straight Moto GP title in 2015.
Feb 1, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Will Max and Carlos Jr. follow in the footsteps of Jos Verstappen and Carlos Sainz?
Feb 1, 2015, 2:30 PM EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 21-race lineup with Nationwide Insurance as primary sponsor has been announced.
Feb 1, 2015, 2:15 PM EST
The late NFL legend helped Target Chip Ganassi Racing during the 2009 IndyCar weekend at Sonoma as part of his “Sports Jobs with Junior Seau” TV show.
Feb 1, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
German driver completes a mammoth 157 laps on day one in Jerez, suggesting Mercedes’ bid to improve its reliability for 2015 has been a successful one.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:45 PM EST
Ryan Dungey and Cooper Webb both won in Anaheim to retain the points lead in their respective classes.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:30 PM EST
Engineering changes set for CGR’s IndyCar program in 2015.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:15 PM EST
Manion has won the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, and two Xfinity Series championships as a crew chief during his career.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
Australian driver enjoys a solid first day of testing in Jerez, completing more laps than the team managed in four days at last year’s opening test.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:30 PM EST
New car only arrived in Spain on Sunday evening after being fired up in the factory on Saturday.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
McLaren CEO confirms that there will be a change in design at some point this year, but refuses to say when.
Feb 1, 2015, 11:05 AM EST
German driver makes a good start to life with Ferrari, but it is Mercedes who puts in the performance of the day with an incredible 157 laps completed.
Feb 1, 2015, 10:45 AM EST
German driver wants to avoid a repeat of his last race defeat to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2014.
Feb 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EST
After storming to third place in the constructors’ championship in 2014, Williams must now consolidate its rise and push for race wins.
Feb 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
As the post-Vettel era begins at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat prepare to step up to the plate.
Feb 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Technical chief Paddy Lowe working on improved reliability in 2015 after some issues last season.
- Vettel fastest for Ferrari on day one of Jerez test 3
- Red Bull RB11 launched in camouflage testing livery 4
- Jimmie Johnson likes new Chase format, but misses the one that brought him six championships 4
- Toro Rosso reveals STR10 ahead of Jerez test 1
- Long: Journey for Wendell Scott’s family ends with a kiss (VIDEO) 0
- Elliott, Lorenzen, White, Scott, and Weatherly enter NASCAR Hall of Fame (VIDEO) 0
- NASCAR Media Tour Content Recap: All posts, one place 0