ABOVE: Andy Granatelli with Parnelli Jones and the STP-Paxton Turbine Car which came within just a few miles of winning the 1967 Indianapolis 500. (IMS Photo)
Andy Granatelli, the man who catapulted STP oil company into the consciousness of every IndyCar fan of the 1960s, died today in Santa Barbara, Calif., at the age of 90,
STP-sponsored cars drove to Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and ’73, in the hands of Mario Andretti and Gordon Johncock respectively. Yet the near misses with the turbine engined STP-Paxton car of Parnelli Jones in ’67 and the similarly powered Lotus 56 of Joe Leonard in ’68 that earned STP just as much press coverage.
Andretti tweeted: “So saddened at the passing of Andy Granatelli. A true icon of IndyCar racing and a very dear friend to the Andretti family.”
A statement from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles read: “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.
“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, and giving 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.”
A full appreciation by Robin Miller will follow soon.