Title anniversaries for Fittipaldi, Andretti this Tuesday

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Today, September 10, marks two Formula One World Championship anniversaries at Monza from the 1970s. Emerson Fittipaldi (1972, pictured at Monaco) and Mario Andretti (1978) each clinched their first World Championships on this day all those years ago.

Fittipaldi’s win in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix secured the title for Lotus with two races remaining in the season. It was a modified Monza circuit, chicanes appearing for the first time after the 1971 race.

“Emmo” became the youngest World Champion at age 25 and 273 days, a mark that stood for more than 30 years. However, since Fernando Alonso usurped that title in 2005, that’s been beaten twice, by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and by three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel in 2010. Fittipaldi won a second championship for McLaren in 1974.

Andretti, meanwhile, who served as a guest analyst for NBCSN’s coverage of the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, took his first and only title under somber circumstances in the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. Andretti’s Lotus teammate, Ronnie Peterson, was caught up in an accident past the start line and died from complications after surgery.

The fatality ensured Andretti had enough of a gap the final two races of the 1978 season to where he was not overtaken. It was the second and thus far most recent World Championship by an American driver (Phil Hill, 1961) in F1 history.

An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

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IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”