New York (May 23) Mario Andretti, perhaps the greatest and most versatile driver in auto racing history will be honored this week with a rare living postal tribute by two nations. On Friday May 26th, at 2:30 PM, Andretti, the only driver to ever win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship, will be on hand at the Nazareth Speedway in his hometown of Nazareth PA for a ceremony to unveil the two new sheets of stamps that span his remarkable career.
Honoring Andretti on legal tender will be the nations of St. Vincent and Sierra Leone. Each country will be releasing a sheet of eight different postage stamps featuring images of Mario's greatest moments. Although most nations including the US and Italy can not honor living subjects on stamps, these two countries are making the rare exception for a world renown, living legend. Andretti, who was born in Montona, Italy in 1940, came to the US with his family at the age of 15. His incredible racing career spanned five decades where he captured 109 checkered flags through his retirement in 1994. Last year he was named 'Driver of the Century' by the Associated Press and Racer Magazine. His son Michael is now a top driver on the CART Circuit.
The historic first day of issue ceremony with Andretti will kick off a weekend of Championship racing in Nazareth where the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota will take place on Saturday with Mario serving as the Grand Marshal. The 2:30PM ceremony on Friday will be highlighted by the unveiling of two giant poster replicas of the stamp sheets by Andretti, along with the artist and government representatives.
This postal tribute is being organized by the Inter-governmental Philatelic Corp (IGPC) based in New York City. IGPC is responsible for the planning, design, production and promotion of the postal programs for over 75 countries including St. Vincent and Sierra Leone. The two stamp sheets were designed by award winning artist Rob Sauber of Brooklyn, New York.
"I am genuinely honored to be considered for such a unique tribute" stated Mario Andretti. "These stamps are a wonderful acknowledgment to my career behind the wheel. I am appreciative to these nations to have so many of my favorite racing moments captured in this manner