By: Tanner Watkins
January 9, 2019 | 4:00 PM
As the year 2019 arrived on January 1, so did the 50th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s famous Indianapolis 500 victory. To mark the occasion, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IMS Museum have planned a bevy of events honoring Andretti in the build-up to May’s 103rd Indianapolis 500.
During a press conference at IMS, Andretti was joined by Speedway president J. Douglas Boles in presenting a special commemorative logo that will be prominently displayed alongside other Indianapolis 500 branding this spring. The logo is based in black and gold while featuring Andretti and his well-known picture alongside the Borg-Warner Trophy after winning the “500” in 1969.
As described by the Speedway, the logo “was illustrated with the Speedway in mind, with the zero (in the 50) representing the oval of the track and the historic Yard of Bricks start-finish line. The base of the 50 is adorned with Mario’s signature, with the badge honoring the Andretti family crest.”
In addition to his own commemorative logo, Andretti will be featured on the Indianapolis 500 special access Silver and Bronze Badges in 2019, officially licensed memorabilia will be produced for the occasion, and on May 1 the IMS Museum will unveil a special exhibit dedicated to Mario and his achievements.
Per the IMS Museum the exhibit will feature “historic Andretti cars, many making their first appearance at the Museum, video and audio recordings of Mario and the Andretti family, and personal memorabilia that highlights the prestigious accomplishments of ‘The Driver of Century.'”
“Winning the Indy 500 changed my life,” Andretti said. “It opened so many doors, creating immense opportunities. It was career-changing. If only Andy Granatelli could be here today to see that we’re still celebrating 50 years later. Because what happened in 1969 was just as important to him.”
That life-changing breakthrough with Granatelli came on May 30,
“Mario Andretti’s victory in the 1969 Indianapolis 500 was one of the iconic moments in the history of the world’s greatest auto race,” said Boles, the IMS president.
“Mario’s position as one of the most popular drivers in the race’s history only has grown over time, and his accomplishments in every discipline of racing in which he has competed remain landmarks of our sport. We’re honored to join with Mario’s legions of fans around the world to celebrate his magical Month of May in 1969 and his remarkable career.”
Andretti will be the first Indy car that rolls off the grid for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 26 when he takes a celebrity for a ride in Honda’s “Fastest Seat in Sports” two-seater. The month of May kicks off with the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 11.
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.