Phoenix IndyCar race to showcase iconic Mario Andretti cars

Phoenix IndyCar race to showcase iconic Mario Andretti cars


Phoenix IndyCar race to showcase iconic Mario Andretti cars


As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the final win of Mario Andretti’s IndyCar career, ISM Raceway will showcase four iconic race cars that he drove to victory on the Arizona one-mile oval during the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix on April 6-7. The four cars will honor the anniversary of Andretti’s victory at Phoenix on April 4, 1993 (pictured).

ISM Raceway, the Verizon IndyCar series and Classic Racing Times will work together to honor the cars and drivers from the 1993 race, whose field included the likes of Al Unser Jr., Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Arie Luyendyk, Paul Tracy, Robby Gordon, Eddie Cheever, Scott Pruett and Jimmy Vasser.

The four iconic Andretti cars to be showcased over the special reunion weekend are from 1966, 1967 and 1988, in addition to ’93.

On Nov. 20, 1966, Andretti had already locked up the 1966 USAC National Championship when the teams arrived at Phoenix for the season finale in mid-November. He started from the pole with his 1965 normally-aspirated Ford V8-powered Dean Van Lines Brawner Hawk and led 153 of the 200 laps, bowing only to Parnelli Jones between Laps 86 and 132. Andretti won by a full lap over Al Unser and two laps over third-place finisher Jim McElreath. It was his eighth USAC Championship Series victory of the year.

Andretti drove to a second consecutive victory in the Phoenix 200 on Nov. 19, 1967. His Ford V8-powered Dean Van Lines-sponsored Brawner Hawk had been built for the 1965 season by chief mechanic Clint Brawner. The design of the car was based on a 1964 Brabham that was still winning races. Andretti just missed winning the pole and started next to Bobby Unser, who led the first 180 laps until a slipping clutch slowed him down. Andretti led the final 20 laps to win, averaging 109.872mph. Al Unser finished second again, with brother Bobby salvaging third.

As a 48-year-old former world champion, Andretti was the benefactor of Rick Mears’ bad luck. Driving his Newman/Haas Lola-Chevrolet to his 50th career Indy car win, Mario (pictured above passing Bill Vukovich III in that race, Marshall Pruett image) ended his 20-year drought at the track on April 10, 1988. After starting third, Andretti took over the lead after Mears, dominant early in his Penske PC-17, crashed out of the race while passing a backmarker. Mario went on to win by more than a half a lap ahead of Roberto Guerrero and his own son, Michael.

On April 4, 1993, Andretti became the oldest driver in CART history to win a race at 53 years, 34 days old. It was his 52nd IndyCar victory. With this win over Raul Boesel, Andretti claimed a checkered flag in professional races in four consecutive decades. It also came in a manner reminiscent of his third Phoenix win.

Andretti started second in his Kmart/Texaco Havoline Lola-Ford Cosworth XB and led the first 10 laps but was soon chasing another dominant Penske car, this time driven by Paul Tracy, Once again, though, the Penske driver would crash out of the lead while overtaking a slower car. Andretti reigned over the last 29 laps, cruising to a one-lap victory over Boesel in the Valvoline 200. That fourth victory in the desert ended up being the all-time great’s last IndyCar win.