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Phoenix Raceway to celebrate Mario Andretti’s 1993 win, 25 years on

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Next year’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Phoenix Raceway (which will become ISM Raceway in 2018) will celebrate 25 years since Mario Andretti’s 1993 win in a weekend celebration. The win was Andretti’s 52nd and last of his career.

The full release from the track is below.

Phoenix Raceway will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s final career win with a special reunion weekend April 6-7, 2018 for the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix.

As the stars of IndyCar take over the track in Saturday night’s Phoenix Grand Prix, the weekend will be filled with events celebrating Andretti as one of racing’s most iconic and renowned racing legends, as well as Phoenix Raceway’s rich open-wheel history. The event will be highlighted by a reunion of the drivers who participated in the 1993 IndyCar race that culminated in Andretti’s last open-wheel victory, while racing for the legendary Newman/Haas Racing team. Fans can interact with legends of the sport such as Bobby Rahal, Lyn St. James, and Arie Luyendyk in a panel discussion and autograph session.

“There’s no more important name in motorsports than Mario Andretti,” said Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber. “He is also a cultural icon and his name resonates around the world with fans and non-fans alike. To be in a position to host the anniversary celebration of his final open-wheel victory at Phoenix Raceway is truly special. I can’t wait to welcome back the drivers and race cars that created history here 25 years ago.”

A very special win for Andretti, the 1993 race at Phoenix marked his 111th and final career victory and his fourth at Phoenix during his career. At 53 years, one month and seven days old, he became the oldest recorded IndyCar winner on a traditional race course, as well as the first driver to win races in four different decades. He also became the only driver to win an automobile race in five-consecutive decades. Andretti still holds IndyCar records for most starts (407), most pole positions earned (67), most laps led (7,595) and most career top-three finishes (144). Phoenix Raceway will celebrate his remarkable accomplishments through special merchandise, trading cards, a tribute panel and special commemorative items for the fans.

In recognition of a long racing and automotive tradition in Arizona, a car corral will be featured on the DC Solar Power Pavilion, displaying historic cars. In a continuing partnership with Classic Racing Times, race cars from the 1993 IndyCar field will also be at the track for fans to enjoy the unique style and design of the IndyCar chassis during the 1990s, some of the sleekest and fastest ever produced.

The Andretti Anniversary celebration will provide a once in a lifetime experience for fans to enjoy at the 2018 IndyCar Phoenix Grand Prix and a unique opportunity to experience the history of the series and Phoenix Raceway.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.