1953 Formula One season
The 1953 Formula One season was the seventh season of the FIA's Formula One racing. It consisted only of a number of non-championship motor races; as in 1952, all races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers, apart from the Indianapolis 500, were held for cars complying with Formula Two regulations rather than with Formula One, with the Indianalpolis 500 held to AAA regulations. The 4th FIA World Championship of Drivers, which commenced on 18 January and ended on 13 September after nine races, was won by Alberto Ascari, driving for a Scuderia Ferrari. Ascari became the first driver to defend his title. In addition to the non-championship Formula One races and the World Championship Formula Two races, numerous other non-championship Formula Two races were held during the year. Ferrari drivers again dominated the championship, taking seven of the eight grands prix, although Juan Manuel Fangio's challenge in his more fragile Maserati took him to second place in the championship and a win at Monza.
Ascari extended his unbeaten run to nine consecutive World Championship grand prix wins before his teammate Mike Hawthorn broke the sequence in becoming the first British winner in the French Grand Prix at Reims after a thrilling battle with Fangio. In 1953, all but one of the races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers were run under Formula 2 regulations, while the remaining one, the Indianapolis 500, was run under AAA Championship Car regulations; the 1953 championship was the first global World Championship of Drivers, with a championship event being staged outside of Europe or the United States for the first time. That race, the 1953 Argentine Grand Prix, was marred by an accident involving the Ferrari of Giuseppe Farina, which crashed into an unprotected crowd, killing nine spectators; the 1953 World Championship of Drivers was contested over a nine race series. The Spanish Grand Prix, scheduled to be staged on 26 October, was cancelled; the Indianapolis 500 counted towards the 1953 AAA Championship.
The following teams and drivers competed in the 1953 FIA World Championship of Drivers. Championship points were awarded to first five finishers in each race on 6, 4, 3, 2 basis. Points for shared drives were divided between the drivers, regardless of the number of laps driven by each. 1 point was awarded for the fastest lap in each race. The point was shared between drivers sharing the fastest lap. Only the best four results from the nine races counted towards a driver's total points in the World Championship. Numbers without parentheses are retained championship points and numbers within parentheses are total points scored. * Italics indicate fastest lap Bold indicates pole position † Position shared between more drivers of the same car ‡ Several cars were shared in this race. See the race page for details; the following Formula One/Formula Two races, which did not count towards the World Championship of Drivers, were held during 1953
1954 Indianapolis 500
The 38th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday, May 31, 1954. The event was part of the 1954 AAA National Championship Trail, was race 2 of 9 in the 1954 World Championship of Drivers. Bill Vukovich won his second consecutive 500. Vukovich died the following year attempting to win his third consecutive Indy 500; the race went 110 laps before the first yellow light. Time trials was scheduled for four days. Saturday May 15 – Pole Day time trials Sunday May 16 – Second day time trials Saturday May 22 – Third day time trials Sunday May 23 – Fourth day time trials Notes^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap First alternate: Eddie Johnson — Johnson drove relief during the race Pole position: Jack McGrath – 4:15.26 Fastest Lead Lap: Jack McGrath – 1:04.04 Relief drivers: Troy Ruttman & Duane Carter shared car no 34. Shared points for 4th position. Paul Russo & Jerry Hoyt shared car no 5. Art Cross, Jimmie Davies, Johnnie Parsons, Andy Linden & Sam Hanks shared car no 45.
Chuck Stevenson, Walt Faulkner shared car no 98. Duane Carter, Jimmy Jackson, Tony Bettenhausen & Marshall Teague shared car no 16. Ed Elisian & Bob Scott shared car no 27. Frank Armi & George Fonder shared car no 71. Sam Hanks, Jimmie Davies & Jim Rathmann shared car no 1. Rodger Ward & Eddie Johnson shared car no 12. Gene Hartley & Marshall Teague shared car no 31. Andy Linden & Bob Scott shared car no 74. Johnny Thomson, Andy Linden & Jimmy Daywalt shared car no 43. Jim Rathmann & Pat Flaherty shared car no 38. Spider Webb & Danny Kladis shared car no 65. Len Duncan & George Fonder shared car no 33; the race was carried live flag-to-flag on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. It was the second time; the broadcast was anchored by Sid Collins, his third as chief announcer, seventh year overall with the crew. Charlie Brockman served as booth analyst and statistician, reported from victory lane. Of note, the network expanded its coverage to include four qualifying wrap-up shows during time trials weekends.
The network expanded to include four qualifying wrap-up shows, the number of affiliate stations increased to 210. All five major radio stations in Indianapolis carried the broadcast; the 1954 broadcast is notable in that it featured for the first time the famous phrase "Stay tuned for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Due to the increased number of affiliates at the time, the network needed a scripted "out-cue" to alert producers when to manually insert local commercials. A young WIBC marketing staff member named Alice Greene is credited with inventing the phrase, chief announcer Sid Collins coined it on-air, it has been used since, with all of the chief announcers proudly reciting it during their respective tenures. World Drivers' Championship standingsNote: Only the top five positions are included. Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site 1954 Indianapolis 500 at RacingReference.info
1950 Formula One season
The 1950 Formula One season was the fourth season of the FIA's Formula One motor racing. It featured the inaugural FIA World Championship of Drivers which commenced on 13 May and ended on 3 September, as well as a number of non-championship races; the championship consisted of six Grand Prix races, each held in Europe and open to Formula One cars, plus the Indianapolis 500, run to AAA National Championship regulations. Giuseppe Farina won the championship from Juan Manuel Luigi Fagioli; the inaugural World Championship of Drivers saw Alfa Romeo dominate with their supercharged 158, a well-developed pre-war design which debuted in 1938. All of the Formula One regulated races in the championship were run in Europe; the Indianapolis 500 was run to American AAA regulations, not to FIA Formula One regulations and none of the regular drivers who competed in Europe competed in the 500, vice versa. Alfa Romeo drivers dominated the championship with Italian Giuseppe "Nino" Farina edging out Argentine teammate Juan Manuel Fangio by virtue of his fourth place in Belgium.
Although the Indianapolis 500, which ran to different regulations, was included in the World Championship each year from 1950 to 1960, it attracted little European participation and, conversely few American Indianapolis drivers entered any Grands Prix. Championship points were awarded to the top five finishers in each race on 6, 4, 3, 2 basis. 1 point was awarded for the fastest lap of each race. Points for shared drives were divided between the drivers, regardless of how many laps each driver completed during the race. Only the best four results from the seven races could be retained by each driver for World Championship classification; the Alfa Romeo team dominated the British Grand Prix at the fast Silverstone circuit in England, locking out the four-car front row of the grid. With King George VI in attendance, Giuseppe Farina won the race from pole position setting the fastest lap; the podium was completed by his teammates Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell, while the remaining Alfa driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, was forced to retire after experiencing problems with his engine.
The final points scorers were the works Talbot-Lagos of Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Louis Rosier, both two laps behind the leaders. Scuderia Ferrari made their World Championship debut around the streets of Monaco, their leading drivers, Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari had to settle for the third row of the grid, while the Alfa Romeos of Fangio and Farina again started from the front row, alongside the privateer Maserati of José Froilán González. Polesitter Fangio took a comfortable victory setting the race's fastest lap, a whole lap ahead of Ascari, with the third-placed Louis Chiron a further lap back in the works Maserati. A first-lap accident, caused by the damp track, had eliminated nine of the nineteen starters—including Farina and Fagioli—while González, who had incurred damage in the pile-up, retired on the following lap. Villoresi, although delayed by the accident, had made his way through the field to second place, but was forced to retire with an axle problem. Fangio's win brought.
The Indianapolis 500, the third round of the inaugural World Championship of Drivers held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States was won by the Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser of Johnnie Parsons, ahead of the Deidt-Offenhausers of Bill Holland and Mauri Rose. The race was stopped after 138 of the scheduled 200 laps due to rain. Alfa Romeo's dominance continued when the World Championship returned to Europe for the Swiss Grand Prix at the tree-lined Bremgarten circuit just outside Bern. Fangio and Fagioli locked out the front row of the grid for Alfa, while the Ferraris of Villoresi and Ascari started from the second row. Fangio was the initial leader, starting from pole position, but he was passed by Farina on lap seven. Ascari and Villoresi were both able to compete with the third Alfa of Fagioli in the early stages, although both had retired by the ten-lap mark. Farina took the win and the fastest lap, finishing just ahead of Fagioli, while Rosier, in third place as a result of Fangio's retirement, took Talbot-Lago's first podium.
Farina's second win of the season put him six points clear of the consistent Fagioli, while Fangio was a further three points behind, having only scored points in one race. Alfa Romeo took their third front row lockout of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix at the fast 8.7 mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit, while the Ferrari of Villoresi shared the second row with the privateer Talbot-Lago of Raymond Sommer. The Alfas were once again untouchable at the start of the race, but when they stopped for fuel, Sommer emerged as an unlikely race leader, his lead, was short-lived and he was forced to retire when his engine blew up. Fangio took the victory, ahead of Fagioli, who again finished second. Rosier again made the podium in his Talbot-Lago, he had been able to pass the polesitter Farina when the Italian picked up transmission problems towards the end of the race. It was not all bad for Farina, however. Both Fagioli and Fangio closed the gap to Farina in the points standings—Fagioli was just four points adrift, while Fangio was a further point behind.
At Reims-Gueux, Alfa Romeo were unchallenged at the French Grand Prix at the fast Reims-Gueux circuit, due to the withdrawal of the works Ferraris of Ascari and Villoresi. The Alfas produced yet another lockout of the front row of the grid, with Fangio taking pole for the third time in six races; the powe
Al Unser Jr.
Alfred Unser Jr. nicknamed "Little Al", "Al Junior", or "Junior", is a retired American race car driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. Unser was born into a racing family in New Mexico, he is the son of the nephew of Bobby Unser, both Indianapolis 500 winners themselves. By the age of 11, Al Junior was racing sprint cars. After high school, he was in the World of Outlaws series of sprint car racing, he soon moved into road racing, winning the Super Vee title in 1981 and the Can-Am title in 1982. In 1982, Unser made his debut on the CART circuit, he suffered personal tragedy when his sister Debbie was killed in a dune buggy accident, but this did not deter Unser. However, hours after the race ended, Unser Jr. was issued a 2-lap penalty by chief steward Thomas W. Binford for passing 2 cars under caution with less than 40 laps to go as well as blocking eventual winner Tom Sneva from getting by his father with less than 20 laps to go; the penalty dropped him to 10th. Despite being lauded for his performance as a rookie, Unser Jr. narrowly lost the rookie of the year award to Teo Fabi.
Unser continued becoming one of the series' rising stars. He finished second in the CART championship point standings in 1985, losing to his father by just one point, he began competing in the IROC championship in 1986, winning that championship with two victories in four races. At the age of 24, Unser was the youngest IROC champion ever. Unser won the 1986 IROC championships. Unser won the 24 Hours of Daytona at age 24 for the first time in 1986 and again in 1987. Unser continued to improve on the CART circuit, finishing fourth in the points standings in 1986, third in 1987, second in 1988 and winning the series for the first time in 1990. In 1989, Unser was on the verge of winning his first Indianapolis 500, but while battling with Emerson Fittipaldi for the lead, the two touched wheels and Unser spun out, hitting the wall and ending his chances; this race is remembered for a remarkable show of sportsmanship, as Little Al climbed out of his wrecked racecar and gave Fittipaldi the "thumbs up" as he drove by Unser under caution.
Unser would have his day at Indy in 1992, defeating Scott Goodyear by 0.043 of a second, the closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history. During the off-season he drove in the 1993 Daytona 500 for Hendrick Motorsports finishing 36th in what would be his only NASCAR start, he ran well in the race, running with the lead pack all day, until a late race crash with Kyle Petty and Bobby Hillin Jr. During an interview with Mike Joy after the accident, Joy asked him. Unser said that he wanted to come back. Unser tested a Williams F1 car but never competed in the series. In 1994, Unser again won at this time with Penske Racing, his teammates were Emerson Fittipaldi, the man whom he battled with five years before, Paul Tracy. Unser turned in a dominant season-long performance, winning eight of 16 races on his way to his second CART championship, as well as being named ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year that year. In 1995 Unser, along with teammate Emerson Fittipaldi, failed to qualify at Indianapolis, he would point to this as the trigger event for his descent into alcoholism and the breakup of his marriage.
He would finish second to Jacques Villeneuve in CART championship points in 1995. He finished fourth in 1996, despite having a chance of winning the championship until the end of the season. Unser ranked 13th in 1997, 11th in 1998 and 21st in 1999, not helped by the fact that he had to sit out two races after breaking his leg in the season-opener at Miami in a first-lap accident. Little Al's decline in performance coincided with the Penske team's struggles with the Penske chassis, his teammates suffered similar results during this time. Team Penske began abandoning the maligned in-house Penske chassis for customer Lola chassis during the 1999 season. Unser would leave CART to join the budding Indy Racing League for the 2000 campaign. Unser won a total of 31 races during his 17 seasons in CART, his career win total including IRL stands at 34, the sixth-most all time in American open wheel racing. As a two-time Indy 500 and two-time overall points champion, Unser enjoyed a decorated career as one of the most dynamic and successful drivers in American auto racing.
Unser would go on to win a total of three races in his IRL career, but after breaking his pelvis in an all-terrain vehicle accident in October 2003, Unser had difficulty securing a ride for the 2004 season. He signed with Patrick Racing three races into the season, but after a 22nd-place finish in Richmond, Unser announced his retirement from racing on June 30, 2004. Unser continued to remain involved in racing, outside of a driving capacity, he served as an adviser for Patrick Racing and worked as a mentor for his son, Alfred Unser, working his way through the lower ranks in open-wheel racing. In 2006 Unser announced that he would come back to racing again and he would run the 2006 Indianapolis 500, teamed with fellow former winner Buddy Lazier for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing; this came just days after Michael Andretti came out of retirement to run the 500. Unser qualified 27th in the 33-car field, ran in the upper half until a crash ended his day. In late August, Unser took part in an A1 Grand Prix test session at Silverstone.
On 25 January 2007, Unser was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident near H
Gordon Johncock is an American former racing driver, best known as a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the 1976 USAC Marlboro Championship Trail champion. Johncock was most simply referred to as "Gordy." Johncock's first USAC victory was scored at the Milwaukee Mile in August 1965. He won six further races before winning the Indy 500 in 1973. At the 1973 Indianapolis 500, Johncock was racing for STP/Patrick Racing. A major accident at the start involving Salt Walther, coupled with two days of rain, postponed the race until late Wednesday afternoon; when the race was held, Johncock's teammate Swede Savage was injured in a fiery crash on lap 58. A moment Armando Teran, a pit crew member on the same STP/Patrick team, was struck by a fire truck going northbound in the pits, was fatally injured at the scene; when the race resumed, Johncock who had led the most laps, was leading when rain fell again on the 133rd lap. Nearing 6 p.m. the race was red flagged and declared over. After a short and muted victory lane celebration, Johncock went to visit Savage at the hospital.
Afterward, the celebratory victory banquet was cancelled. Instead and his crew went to a local fast-food joint for hamburgers. About a month Savage died from his injuries. In the 1975 Indianapolis 500, he started the race on the front row but retired with ignition problems on the 11th lap. Johncock won the USAC national championship in 1976, snatching the title from Johnny Rutherford in the final race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway. In 1976 and 1978 he finished third at Indianapolis, in 1977 he was leading A. J. Foyt when the car's crankshaft broke with sixteen laps to go. Johncock took a second Indianapolis 500 victory in 1982; this remains the fourth-closest Indy 500 finish in history. Mears was closing on Johncock in the final laps. In Mears' final pit stop, Mears' team made a miscalculation and filled his car with more fuel than it needed to finish the race; as a consequence Mears had to catch up a significant distance on Johncock, on the 197th and 198th laps came from 3 seconds back to within car lengths.
Johncock's tires were deteriorating by the lap, with each turn the car understeered more severely. On the final lap, just after the white flag waved, Mears tried to pass Johncock for the win, with Johncock making a decisive defense of first place in Turn One, Johncock began pulling away. In turn 4, Mears reeled him in and made a pass, but lost by 16-hundredths of a second, at that time, the closest finish in Indy 500 history. Mears would joke about watching the tape over and over to see if'this time I get around Gordy'. Johncock, during a live interview on ABC years offered that if the dramatic duel had occurred two or three years later—when Mears had additional experience—the Californian would have pulled off the winning pass. Johncock took another three Indycar races, including the 1982 Michigan 500 to complete two legs of what was known as the Triple Crown before retiring from racing in 1985. Legend holds that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held off resurfacing the bumpy concrete pit lane until Johncock retired, as he was known for his high-speed trips through the pit lane.
He returned for occasional appearances in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991 and retired for good after the 1992 Indianapolis 500. Johncock's last Indycar win was in the opening round of the 1983 CART PPG Indy Car World Series at the Atlanta Motor Speedway driving a Cosworth powered Patrick Wildcat. Johncock, who started 3rd on the grid, won the 200 mile, 132 lap race at an average of 146.133 mph from the Penske-Cosworth of Al Unser and John Paul, Jr. in a 1982 model Penske-Cosworth. Johncock competed in twenty-one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in his career, he earned four top-tens in his limited schedules. The best of those finishes were a pair of 1966 at Rockingham. Johncock abruptly retired from IndyCar racing during the first week of practice for the 1985 Indianapolis 500, just before qualifications, he served on the IMS Radio Network in 1985 but decided to return to racing in 1986. He planned to enter the 1986 Indianapolis 500, he wound up sitting out the race. He attempted another return in 1987. During the first week of time trials, Jim Crawford suffered serious injuries to his feet.
Johncock was qualified for the race. Johncock completed a sixth-place finish in the 1991 Indy 500, despite having flu-like symptoms the morning of the race, his final race was the 1992 Indy 500. Since his retirement, Johncock has distanced himself from motorsports, focuses on his timber business in Michigan, he participated in a 2004 interview on ESPN Classic's "Big Ticket" review of the 1982 Indy 500. In the interview, he admitted that his interests in racing were now limited, was no longer his daily focus. In discussing the 1973 race, Johncock appeared to have made peace with the circumstances. While most discredit the race as being rain-shortened, for its overall miserable memories, Johncock insisted that his car was undoubtedly the fastest on the track, led
American open-wheel car racing
American open-wheel car racing known as Indy car racing, is a category of professional-level automobile racing in the United States and North America. As of 2019, the top-level American open-wheel racing championship is sanctioned by IndyCar. Competitive events for professional-level, single-seat open-wheel race cars have been conducted under the auspices of several different sanctioning bodies since 1902. A season-long, points-based, National Championship of drivers has been recognized in 1905, 1916, since 1920; the Indianapolis 500, which debuted in 1911, is the premier event of Indy car racing. The open-wheeled, single-seater cars have been similar to those in Formula One, though there are important differences; the fame of the Indianapolis 500 leads many to colloquially refer to the cars that compete on the American Championship circuit as "Indy cars." This form of racing has experienced high levels of popularity over the years in the post-World War II time frame. The "golden era" of the 1950s was followed by a decade of transition and innovation in the 1960s, which included increased international participation.
The sport experienced considerable growth and exposure during the rising popularity of the CART PPG Indy Car World Series in the 1980s and early 1990s. Two organizational disputes, in 1979 and 1996, led to a "split" that divided the participants among two separate sanctioning bodies. However, an official unification took place in 2008 that brought the sport back together under one single sanctioning body; the national championship was sanctioned by the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association. The AAA first sanctioned automobile motorsports events in 1902. At first it used the rules of the Automobile Club of America, but it formed its own rules in 1903, it introduced the first track season championship for racing cars in 1905. Barney Oldfield was the first champion. No official season championship was recognized from 1906–1915, single races were held. Official records regard 1916 as the next contested championship season. Years retroactive titles were named back to 1902; these post factum seasons are considered unofficial and revisionist history by accredited historians.
Racing did not cease in the United States during WWI, but the official national championship was suspended. The Indianapolis 500 itself was voluntarily suspended for 1917–1918 due to the war. In 1920, the championship resumed, despite the difficult economic climate that would follow, ran continuously throughout the Depression. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, all auto racing was suspended during World War II. From 1942 to 1945 no events were contested, banned by the U. S. government on account of rationing. Racing resumed in full in 1946; the 1946 season is unique, in that it included six Champ Car events, 71 "Big Car" races, as organizers were unsure about the availability of cars and participation. AAA ceased participation in auto racing at the end of the 1955 season, it cited a series of high-profile fatal accidents, namely Bill Vukovich at Indianapolis, the Le Mans disaster. Through 1922 and again from 1930 to 1937, it was commonplace for the cars to be two-seaters, as opposed to the aforementioned standard single-seat form.
The driver would be accompanied by a riding mechanic. The national championship was taken over by the United States Auto Club, a new sanctioning body formed by the then-owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman. Championship racing continued to grow in popularity in a stabilized environment for over two decades, with the two traditional disciplines of paved oval tracks and dirt oval tracks. During the 1950s, front-engined "roadsters" became the dominant cars on the paved oval tracks, while "upright" Champ Dirt Cars continued to dominate on dirt tracks. In the 1960s, drivers and team owners with road racing backgrounds, both American and foreign, began creeping into the series and the paved oval track cars evolved from front-engine "roadsters" to rear-engine formula-style racers. Technology and expense climbed at a rapid rate; the schedule continued to be dominated by oval tracks, but a few road course races were added to assuage the newcomers. Dirt tracks were dropped from the national championship after 1970.
During the 1970s, the increasing costs began to drive some of the traditional USAC car owners out of the sport. The dominant teams became Penske, Gurney, McLaren, all run by people with road racing backgrounds. There was a growing dissent between these teams and USAC management. Events outside Indianapolis were suffering from low attendance, poor promotion; the Indy 500 was televised on a same day tape delayed basis on ABC, most of the other races had little or no coverage on television. Towards the end of the decade, the growing dissent prompted several car owners to consider creating a new sanctioning body to conduct the races. Meanwhile, two events had a concomitant effect on the situation. Tony Hulman, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder of USAC, died in the fall of 1977. A few months eight key USAC officials were killed in a plane crash. By the end of 1978, the owners had broken away and founded Championship Auto Racing Teams to wrest control of Championship racing away from USAC.
Championship Auto Racing Teams was formed by most of the existing team owners, with some initial assistance from the SCCA. Therefore, there were two national championships run each by USAC and CART; the Indianapolis 500 remained under USAC sanction. The top teams allied to CART, the CART championship became the more prestigious national championship. USAC
Mario Gabriele Andretti is an Italian-born American former racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR, he won races in midget cars, sprint cars. During his career, Andretti won the 1978 Formula One World Championship, four IndyCar titles, IROC VI. To date, he remains the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Cup Series, Formula One, an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti's victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits. Andretti had a long career in racing, he was the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades. He was one of only three drivers to have won major races on road courses, paved ovals, dirt tracks in one season, a feat that he accomplished four times.
With his final IndyCar win in April 1993, Andretti became the first driver to have won IndyCar races in four different decades and the first to win automobile races of any kind in five. In American popular culture, his name has become synonymous with speed, as with Barney Oldfield in the early twentieth century and Stirling Moss in the United Kingdom. Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo were born to Alvise Andretti, a farm administrator, his wife, Rina, in Montona, Istria. Istria was part of the Kingdom of Italy, but it was annexed by Yugoslavia at the end of World War II, as confirmed by the Treaty of Paris; the Andretti family left in 1948, during the Istrian exodus, ending up in a refugee camp in Lucca, Italy. Andretti told author Paul Stenning: "My father left everything behind, we left our home and took what we could carry and went further into Italy, they had to swallow all of these families that were dispersed and they formed all different camps over Italy and we were shipped to a place in Tuscany.
Life was a bit weird at the time but the one thing that my father always did, he always provided for us. As kids we were never cold, we were never hungry, we went to school, he always provided quite well."Andretti's father had maintained contact with his brother-in-law who had lived in the United States for many years. It took the family three years to obtain a visa for America. Alvise Andretti told the family they would move to America for five years and return to Italy. Mario has explained: "When I looked at my life in many ways out of so many negatives here comes a positive and this was one of them, here was an opportunity created for us, the kids, my dad always cited that, he would say in a sense I am looking at your future, where I think would be the best solution for you kids to have opportunities and he was correct, he was right because if we had remained in Italy I don’t know whether I could pursued what my first passion was and the only passion I had career wise." The twins' mother Rina said that when they were two years old, they would take pot lids out of the cupboards and run around the kitchen, going "Vroom, vroom," like they were driving cars – this before they had seen a car.
In 1945, at the age of five, he and Aldo were racing their hand-crafted wooden cars through the steep streets of their hometown. The brothers were hired by a garage to park cars, Andretti described the experience in his book What's It Like Out There: "The first time I fired up a car, felt the engine shudder and the wheel come to life in my hands, I was hooked, it was a feeling. I still get it every time I get into a race car." Andretti's first racing experience was in a new youth racing league called Formula Junior in Ancona, Italy when he was thirteen years old. In an interview during an RRDC Evening with Mario Andretti, Andretti recounted the story of his early days of Dirt Track racing in Pennsylvania with his brother and implied that he and his brother made up the story of racing in the Formula Junior league to improve their chances because they looked the part after having purchased racing suits in Italy. Andretti had two fond childhood memories of watching a stretch of the Mille Miglia race in 1954 which caused him to become captivated by Italian two-time Formula One world champion Alberto Ascari, who won the race, which got him to go to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, where he saw Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio race against each other.
In 1955 the Andretti family emigrated to the United States of America, settling in Nazareth in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley with just $125 to their name. In 1959, after finishing high school, he planned to became a welder, but he falsified a driving license so he could pass for 21 and enter an amateur race. Mario and Aldo were surprised to find a half-mile dirt racing track; the twins worked on a 1948 Hudson Hornet Sportsman funded by money that they earned in their uncle's garage in 1959. They took turns racing the old Hudson on oval dirt tracks near Nazareth in 1959, they did not tell their parents. The twins each had two wins after their first four races. Aldo was hurt near the end of the season, their parents were unhappy to find out that the twins were racing. Mario had 21 modified stockcar wins in 46 races in 1960 and 1961. Andretti became a naturalized United States citizen in 1964, he competed in United States Automobile Club stock car events in 1965, finished twelfth in the season points.
He won a USAC Stock Car race in 1967, finished seventh in the season points. He won t