Mario Andretti gets Jay Leno up to speed — and then some

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Comedian and former late-night talk show host Jay Leno has spent his career making millions laugh.

But recently at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., the joke was on Leno, so to speak – but in a good way.

Racing legend Mario Andretti, who Leno calls “my racing hero,” took the comic on some hot laps around the two-mile, high-speed track in Honda’s “Fastest Seat in Sports” two-seater Indy car.

“This was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Leno said, via an IndyCar media release. “Mario is one of the legends of the sport and my hero.

“It’s not so much the straight speed, but there’s no passenger car that can take those G forces. Being a car guy, I’ve gone fast, but not around turns (at 14 degrees banking). That’s really the exciting part.”

But that wasn’t the best part. It was Leno’s reaction while zipping around ACS with Andretti behind the wheel.

“I was just in the back seat screaming,” Leno quipped.

The whole ride was caught on camera and, along with Andretti visiting Leno’s Big Dog Garage earlier this month – one of the largest private collections of motor vehicles in the world – will be featured in an upcoming episode of his NBC TV show, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” sometime this fall.

“It was exciting,” said Leno, who was honorary pace car driver for the 1999 Indianapolis 500. “(Andretti’s) one of the greatest guys and obviously one of the greatest race car drivers.”

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