You absolutely cannot mention Indy 500 or its history without mentioning Andy Granatelli, his engineering and his amazing exploits.
Andy Granatelli, a flamboyant race car driver turned businessman who became a household name with TV commercials for his STP fuel and oil additives, died December 29th, 2013 at a Santa Barbara hospital. He was 90.
Granatelli was inducted into 19 engineering and motorsport halls of fame, including the hall of fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002. Granatelli designed and owned cutting-edge cars, raced at Indianapolis, and marketed his achievements with flair, decking himself and his crew out in pajama-like white suits covered with red STP stickers.
Andy Granatelli’s cars became a significant presence at the Indianapolis 500. While he first gained notoriety by re-introducing the legendary Novi. His most famous entries were his turbine-powered cars in 1967 and 1968. Despite all of his history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he only drove the famed speedway once, in 1948. He broke both shoulders and lost 11 teeth in a crash during the qualifying rounds. He was racing under the name “Antonio the Great” with a small garage based in Chicago.
He understood the spirit and challenge of the Indianapolis 500. He had a natural flair to his presentation that made people sit up and take notice. Mainly, Andy Granatelli had a gift for pairing innovative technologies with talented drivers. This made him not only a head-turner, but a legitimate threat at the Indy 500 every year. His showmanship will be missed and his name will always ring as a permanent part of the World’s Greatest Racing Spectale.