Widely regarded as the greatest race car driver of all time, Mario Andretti was born in Montona, Italy in February of 1940. In 1955, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. By 1959, he began racing stock cars virtually in his backyard. He won the very first race he entered at Nazareth in a 1948 Hudson Hornet Sportsman stock car that he built with his twin brother, Aldo, and some friends.
That was the start of an illustrious 36-year career that saw the versatile driver compete and win in every discipline he entered – midgets, sprint cars, dirt track cars, stock cars, IndyCars, Formula One, Formula 5000 and sports cars. Over the years, Mario won 111 major events, including the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and the Daytona 500 in 1967. Among his many titles, he captured four IndyCar Championships (1965, 1966, 1969 and 1984), the USAC National Dirt Track Championship in 1974, the Formula One World Championship in 1978, the IROC Championship in 1979, and the grueling 12 Hours of Sebring three times. As a measure of his success, he was named Driver of the Year in three different decades, Driver of the Quarter Century and, ultimately, Driver of the Century.
While he retired from active competition in 1994, many of his records still stand. He is the all-time leader in IndyCar pole positions won (67), all-time IndyCar lap leader (7,595), all-time leader in IndyCar race starts (407) and the oldest race winner in IndyCar history at age 53. He is also enshrined in the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame, the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Sebring Hall of Fame and the Automotive Hall of Fame. In 2006 he received the title of Commendatore from the Republic of Italy. His knighthood was the result not only of his spectacular racing career, but also his epic life story as a classic example of the immigrant made good in America.
In 2008, the Library of Congress added him to its Living Legends list. Since 2002, Mario has served as spokesman and friend to MagnaFlow. To MagnaFlow, it wasn’t just the winning that made Mario a champion. It was the way he did it. Filled with a lifelong passion for the sport, he had an incredible drive to win and competitive spirit. Off the track, he’s admired for his great warmth, dignity and class, as well. That’s why he has the most loyal fans in racing. Mario’s fans love him – plain and simple.