IndyCar and IMSA reacted Thursday to the death of John Andretti, who made a mark in both circuits as one of his generation’s most versatile drivers.
Andretti was a winner in NASCAR Cup and the CART Indy car series became the first driver to drive the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 doubleheader on the same day.
“John Andretti’s skills behind the wheel of any kind of race car were admired by his millions of fans around the world, and he always returned that loyalty and kindness to become one of the most popular drivers of his generation,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release, on behalf of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“But John’s true mission was helping others, whether through his countless hours of charity work, especially with Riley Children’s Hospital here in Indianapolis, or by the colon screening campaign he started in April 2017 after he was diagnosed with cancer. John’s positive attitude and selflessness throughout his brave fight inspired all of us and will be a legacy that will continue forever. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Nancy, their three children and the entire Andretti family.”
— Marco Andretti (@MarcoAndretti) January 30, 2020
With co-drivers Bob Wollek and Derek Bell, Andretti won the 1989 overall title in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. He also won later that season and finished fifth in points.
“We are devastated by the news that our dear friend, John Andretti, has passed away,” IMSA President John Doonan said in a statement. “John was an extremely talented IMSA racer, as his 1989 Rolex 24 victory and three other victories will attest.
“But he was one of the most versatile racers ever, winning races in IndyCar and NASCAR and reaching the pinnacle of top fuel drag racing as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, friends and many colleagues, and he will be missed by many throughout our motorsports community.”
If you grew up a sports car nerd like I did in the 80’s and 90’s you loved seeing John Andretti getting to race Indycars and NASCAR because you felt like he was one of our guys. The High Life 962 is one of the most iconic liveries of my lifetime. What a loss.. #CheckIt4Andretti pic.twitter.com/DlcucPT5kR
— Ryan Eversley (@RyanEversley) January 30, 2020
Andretti returned to the Rolex 24 in 2008 and ’12. He also won the GT class of the 2001 Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen International, co-driving a Porsche GT3R with NASCAR teammate Kyle Petty.