Legendary driver and racing champion Mario Andretti has been named as Honorary Chairman for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’s 30th annual induction ceremony.
The event will be held March 13 at Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“Anytime Mario Andretti returns to Daytona, it’s magical,” MSHFA President Ron Watson said in a media release. “This will also add a bit of magic to our induction ceremony. Mario has always been supportive of our efforts and of course, we have always been extremely grateful.”
Andretti, is the only racer to win both the Daytona 500 (1967) and Indianapolis 500 (1969), as well as a Formula One world championship (1978), was inducted into the MSHFA in 1990.
“I’m delighted to be invited and when I got the invitation, I figured, ‘Good, Ron (Watson) has finally given me a job,’ ’’ Andretti laughed. “But this is a good opportunity for me to come and see what I call ‘The Temple.’
“The hall of fame is so important because of what it represents. To me, it’s the ultimate award or reward that any driver could hope for in their career. I’ve had first-hand experience with that (was inducted into the MSHFA in 1990) and also with my son Michael inducted (2008). I know how much that means to us and to be part of an evening like that … I look forward to that very much.”
Andretti’s role as Honorary Chairman is quite fitting as two of this year’s eight inductees come from the IndyCar world: Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher and former champion car owner Pat Patrick.
Others to be inducted are former Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon, drag racing car builder John Buttera, record-setting pilot (and world-famous billionaire) Howard Hughes, motorcycle great Fred Merkel and sports car legend Bob Tullius.
The MSHFA moved to its new home on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway two years ago from its former longtime home in Novi, Michigan.