Oregon museum exhibit honors Mario Andretti

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With the 50th anniversary of Mario Andretti’s lone Indianapolis 500 victory being celebrated this year, an Oregon motorsports museum has recently opened an extensive exhibit honoring the life and career of the racing legend.

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The exhibit, appropriately titled Mario Andretti: Racing Royalty, opened on March 23 and runs through November 2 at the World of Speed Motorsports Museum in the Portland suburb of Wilsonville, OR.

The exhibit features eleven vehicles from Andretti’s racing career, covering a variety of different disciplines, and also includes exclusive video interviews with Mario, brother Aldo, son Michael and grandson Marco Andretti, as well as interviews with a variety of other racing personalities telling stories about Andretti, his legacy, and his contributions to the sport.

Museum Curator Ron Hugeli was one of the key individuals who helped organize the exhibit, and he recently explained to NBC Sports why he felt that it was time for the museum to construct an exhibit honoring Andretti.

“He is a person that has excelled and been a winner in eleven different forms of motorsport,” Hugeli said. “He’s had over five decades of racing competitively. He is the only race car driver, in my knowledge, whose name is part of the American lexicon. How many times have you heard somebody say, ‘Who do you think you are, Mario Andretti?’

“The man was able to get into any kind of car and be successful. Maybe not master it the first time, but boy, I tell you, give him a little bit of time and he’d be at the top of the game.”

The eleven cars from Andretti’s career that are featured in the exhibit are:

• 1949 Hudson Modified (Mario’s first race car)

• 1950 Hillegass TQ Midget

• 1955 Hillegass Sprint Car

• 1964 Kuzma Indy Roadster

• 1967 Ford Fairlane Stock Car (a recreation of Mario’s Daytona 500 Winner)

• 1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV J4 (12 Hours of Sebring Winner)

• 1969 Grant King (Pikes Peak Winning Car)

• 1972 Viceroy Champ Dirt Car

• 1979 IROC Camaro

• 1981 Wildcat Indy Car (from the controversial finish in the 1981 Indianapolis 500)

• 1994 Lola Indy Car (Used in the IMAX film, SuperSpeedway)

Mario Andretti: Racing Royalty is open every Tuesday-Sunday at the World of Speed Museum, and Hugeli said that Mario will make appearances at the exhibit in late August when IndyCar returns to Portland International Raceway.

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Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen finish 1-2 at High Point, tie for points lead

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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Time was running off the clock and Eli Tomac was going to give up the overall win to Ken Roczen, until the Colorado native dug deep and made the pass for second in Moto 2 at High Point Raceway at Mount Morris, Penn. Roczen would win his third Moto of the season, but Tomac won the war.

With a third-place finish in Moto 1 and his second in Moto 2, Tomac grabbed the overall victory for the second time this season in Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship.

For Tomac, it was another difficult start to the race. He tipped his bike over in Moto 1 and fell back to fifth while battling two seconds behind the leader Blake Baggett. Tomac had to battle his way back toward the front again after barely cracking the top five in the first Motos in two of the first three rounds.

Roczen fared even worse in Moto 1. He finished sixth in that race – more than 34 seconds behind the leader Baggett. Determined to make up for his bad start, Roczen charged through the field in Moto 2 and took the lead from Cooper Webb on Lap 9.

“I was just going to charge,” Roczen told NBC Sports after his Moto win. “Do the best I can. I went back to my Colorado (last week) settings because the first race was awful; I couldn’t even ride.”

Tomac entered the round two points behind Roczen and was able to make up only those two points. The battle continues onto Florida next week with a tie for the top spot.

With a 2-5, Jason Anderson grabbed third overall.

Battling back from injury, Anderson faded in the closing laps of Moto 2, but is regaining strength each week.

Webb (third) and Zach Osborne (fourth) rounded out the top five in Moto 2 and finished fourth and fifth respectively overall.

Moto 1 featured a rider searching for his first Moto win in two years. Baggett earned the holeshot and held off an early advantage by Tomac. When Tomac fell, it handed second to Anderson, who finished nearly 10 seconds behind the leader.

“Every time I get out front here, I have that weird sensation of trying to keep it on two wheels,” Baggett said on NBC Sports Gold following his win.

Tomac was not the only rider to go down in Moto 1. Webb lost his pegs on Lap 9 and became the cape to his KTM motorcycle as he flew along holding tight to the handlebars. He recovered in that race to finish seventh.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

Adam Cianciarulo remains perfect in the 250 class. Winning Moto 2 in each round so far this season, Cianciarulo has capitalized on his late event surges to sweep Victory Lane in the first four weeks.

It wasn’t an easy run for Cianciarulo, nonetheless. He was only fifth at the end of Lap 1 in Moto 1 and was forced to slice through the field to get to second at the checkers of that race.

“Just coming to the races now – coming to outdoor nationals now – compared to the past, it’s just an entirely different vibe,” Cianciarulo said on NBCSN after the race. “It’s like I’m experiencing it for the first time because for the first time in my whole pro career I believe in myself.

“It’s a process when you hit rock bottom and start coming back.”

Hunter Lawrence stole the show in Moto 1. Earning his first career win handily, he came out in Moto 2 and proved it was not a fluke by finishing third in the race and taking second overall.

“It’s awesome,” Lawrence said on NBC Sports Gold following his Moto 1 victory. “It’s just a Moto win, but it’s a big milestone in our trip and campaign.”

Chase Sexton earned the holeshot in Moto 1, but faded to fourth at the end. Sexton kept Cianciarulo in sight in the back half of Moto 2 to finish second in the race and third overall.

With a 3-4, Dylan Ferrandis finished fourth overall with Colt Nichols (5-5) finishing fifth.

After losing the overall at Thunder Valley amidst controversy, Justin Cooper wanted to make a statement. He barely raised his voice with a sixth in Moto 1 and a ninth in Moto 2 to finish ninth overall.  He lost another 20 points to the points leader as Cianciarulo starts to edge away from the pack. Cooper remains second in the points, but is now 26 back.

Garrett Marchbanks went down hard on Lap 4 of Moto 1 and had the bike land on his head. He did not start Moto 2, but there have been no report of injury yet.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[4] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)

250MX
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)

Next race: WW Ranch Motocross Park, Jacksonville, Fla. June 22

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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