Andy Granatelli, long time presence at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway died today at the age of 90.
Granatelli’s involvement in motorsport stems back all the way to the 1940s, when he tried to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
He was injured in an accident during that attempt, which forced him out of the cockpit.
He became the spokesman for STP, entered dozens of cars into the Indianapolis 500, some of which were very note worthy.
In 1967 and 1968 he entered turbine powered race cars for Joe Leonard and Parnelli Jones respectively, and watched both the cars fail with only laps remaining to claim an Indy 500 crown.
The following year however, bringing an all-wheel-drive car with Mario Andretti behind the wheel the Granatelli team was the one to beat. After a massive crash that destroyed the car, Andretti was forced into a year-old backup machine.
Nursing burns from the wreck, Andretti was able to win the 500 miler to bring Granatelli to victory lane.
One of the more memorable moments of Indy 500 history that year saw Granatelli take over for the “Miss Indy 500” girl, kissing Andretti on the cheek during post race celebrations.
"Andy Granatelli - known appropriately as "Mister 500" - understood better than anyone the spirit and challenge of the Indianapolis 500 and had a remarkable ability to combine innovative technologies with talented race car drivers to make his cars a threat to win at Indianapolis every year," said Doug Boles, IMS.
"Andy leaves a legacy of historic moments that will live forever in Indianapolis 500 lore including his famous turbine that dominated the 1967 Indianapolis 500, the Lotus 56 of 1968, andgiving the great Mario Andretti a kiss on the cheek in victory lane after his 1969 win. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy's family, friends and legion of fans."