Editors' Note -- This is the second in a series of releases featuring the thoughts of key NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors in anticipation of the inaugural Pennzoil 400, Nov. 11-14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. John Andretti Anticipates ...
Editors' Note -- This is the second in a series of releases featuring the thoughts of key NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitors in anticipation of the inaugural Pennzoil 400, Nov. 11-14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
John Andretti Anticipates Strong Showing In First Visit To Homestead-Miami Speedway
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- John Andretti is no stranger to winning races in Miami. He enjoyed the thrill of victory in the 1989 Miami Grand Prix, back when IMSA Camel GT Prototypes raced down scenic Biscayne Boulevard in the heart of downtown Miami.
His family has always raced well in the shade of the palm trees of South Florida. Uncle Mario won the pole for the 1987 CART finale at Miami's Tamiami Park. Cousin Michael won that race, and then went on to win the 1997 and 1998 CART FedEx Championship Car race at sparkling Homestead-Miami Speedway.
John Andretti hopes to continue the Andretti's winning tradition when he races for the first time at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Nov. 14 Pennzoil 400, the long-awaited debut of NASCAR Winston Cup racing in South Florida.
When you've got a famous name like Andretti, there are plenty of expectations to follow in the traditions set by Uncle Mario, Cousin Michael and Godfather A.J. Foyt. Adding to that is the Petty legacy, which scored its 270th NASCAR Winston Cup triumph in April when Andretti drove the No. 43 STP Pontiac to victory at Martinsville.
"I've never been to Homestead-Miami Speedway, but I can't wait to go there," said the 36-year-old Pennsylvania native. "After seeing all the work and improvements going on at the Speedway, I'm looking forward to racing there.
"Not only is it a beautiful facility, but I think the one-and-a-half mile oval will really suit the STP Pontiac. Running on the flat ovals has been our strong suit, and we will really be strong for the Pennzoil 400. You want to win every race, but I really hope to be the inaugural winner in Miami."
Andretti's vast resume includes a CART victory, an overall victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and a quarterfinal triumph in an NHRA Top Fuel event. He's been sixth overall in the 24 Hours of LeMans (with Uncle Mario and Michael), and drove a Cale Yarborough-owned stocker to victory in the 1997 Pepsi 400 at Daytona. He also was the first driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, a fete recently matched by NASCAR Winston Cup rookie sensation Tony Stewart.
Despite his experience, Andretti was eager to learn from stock car racing's acknowledged "King" when he returned the Petty Enterprises for the 1999 campaign.
"Richard Petty has really helped me with stock car racing -- and with patience. I am a very impatient person -- and still am -- but Richard is teaching me to be more patient in the race car. I've still got a lot of learn about stock car racing, but Richard is helping me learn it."
Andretti ran in 11 races with Petty Enterprises late in the 1994 season, early in his NASCAR Winston Cup career. He rejoined Petty last season, and finished a career-best 11th in the final NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. After 12 races this season, he's a solid 14th in the points, with a fourth place finish at Bristol included in four top-10 finishes.
Reserved grandstand seats are now on sale for the Pennzoil 400. For ticket orders, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site at www.racemiami.com.
John Andretti on South Florida
While John Andretti has never raced at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he won the 1989 IMSA Camel GTP race at Bayside and finished ninth in the 1987 CART Miami Grand Prix, a race won by his cousin, Michael. Most recently, he joined car owner Richard Petty in Miami in January as special guests at the Super Bowl at Pro Player Stadium.
"There are plenty of things to do in Miami, and I've had a lot of fun there. I always look forward to going to Miami and South Florida. You can have fun at South Beach. One time I went on a cruise, and another time I went deep sea fishing. In November, I'm hoping to rent a Ferrari 355 and drive around with my son Jarett."