By: Tanner Watkins
April 18, 2019 | 9:00 AM
By now, you’ve probably noticed a couple tributes to Mario Andretti’s 1969 triumph at the Indianapolis 500. The momentous victory is 50 years old this May, and so Andretti Autosport has unveiled their own way of paying homage to Mario’s feat with a special ride on deck for grandson Marco.
Unveiled in New York City this morning on NBC’s Today show, three generations of Andretti racers pulled back the cover on the No. 98 U.S. Concrete Honda that Marco Andretti will race in the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
Decked out in the famous day-glow red that resembles Mario’s 1969 race-winning car owned by Andy Granatelli, the No. 98 will certainly bring back memories at the Speedway next month.
“I’m really happy we were able to pull this off, it’s a really cool way to honor Mario’s 50th anniversary,” said Marco Andretti, looking to make his 14th start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“The color will be hard to miss on track and the car looks great. We’re all very thankful that U.S. Concrete was on board to run the livery and make this year’s car as special as possible. We can’t wait to have a shot at bringing this car to victory lane on May 26.”
Fans won’t have to wait until Indianapolis 500 practice opens on Tuesday, May 14 to see the car on track, though: Andretti will run the special throwback livery at next Wednesday’s open series test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spectators can gather on the Turn 2 viewing mounds for free to catch their first glimpse of action at the Speedway in 2019.
The retro livery features unique nods to the past that tie together Mario’s 1969 car and Marco’s 2019 machine, including the black number block to identify the car number, the historical logo of Firestone Tires, and the initials “FB,” which can be found near the front suspension of the car. Those initials represent Frank Boeninghaus, the man who provided the engine for Andretti’s race-winning run back in 1969.
“I was full of pride when I learned that my son Michael was paying tribute to me this way,” said Mario, now 79. “The effort his team is going through to present this commemorative car is flattering. Thank you to the team for that effort and also for acknowledging my part in Indy 500 history. I am honored to have Marco carry the design from my 1969 car.
“I hope this winning paint scheme will be a good omen for him and that he’ll get his first 500 victory. When I see the car, it will definitely be an opportunity for reflection. It’s humbling. It is a tremendous compliment to me that this team would look back at my victory and find it worthy of recognition.”
As the team’s primary sponsor, this is the second time U.S. Concrete has worked with Andretti Autosport to provide an eye-opening throwback livery. Last year, the No. 98 Honda raced at ISM Raceway in Phoenix with a paint scheme modeled after one of Michael Andretti’s famous rides in the 1990s. U.S. Concrete was an associate sponsor for that drive while the beef jerky brand Oberto served as the primary partner.
“Marco Andretti is not only a great ambassador for IndyCar racing but for our safety and hiring initiatives as well. His excitement to honor his grandfather continues to show how dedicated he is to honoring his family’s legacy,” said U.S. Concrete Chairman and CEO, Bill Sandbrook.
“We knew that partnering with the Andretti Autosport team was the best vehicle for us to successfully deliver our sponsorship objectives and this tribute is a shining example of what the entire Andretti family means to auto racing.”
Header image courtesy of Mario Andretti.