The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will honor 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his illustrious racing career with the exhibit, “Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, opening to the public Wednesday, May 1.
The exhibit is part of a comprehensive 50th anniversary celebration of Andretti’s victory at the Indianapolis 500. Andretti led 116 laps and delivered a popular, long-awaited victory for colorful car owner Andy Granatelli, despite having to race in a backup car, battling race-long engine overheating issues and being forced to run all 500 miles on the same right-rear Firestone tire.
“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+, will bring together many of the most significant cars in Andretti’s career at the IMS Museum – cars which also represent significant milestones in motorsports history given Andretti’s accomplishments.
The featured exhibits of “Mario Andretti: ICON,” are a full representation of the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, resident’s diverse career. A sampling of this can’t-miss exhibit includes:
“Winning the Indianapolis 500 changed my life and Indy has been like a second home for my family for a very long time, so I’m very much looking forward to everything the museum and the speedway have planned in May,” said Andretti. “To be called an 'icon' is extremely humbling, but the collection put together by the IMS Museum staff is phenomenal. I cannot wait to see this exhibit and share my story with the fans from around the world who will see it in the coming months.”
Many other notable cars, firesuits, helmets and memorabilia will be part of the exhibit. An audio tour featuring stories from Andretti, longtime rivals A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser and team owner Roger Penske will provide entertaining, behind-the-scenes insight into his career.
“Mario Andretti: ICON,” presented by Shell V-Power NiTRO+ will be open through Nov. 10.
Hall of Fame coach Dungy to be St. Pete grand marshal
Tony Dungy, the Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach who currrently serves as an analyst on NBC’s “Football Night in America,” will serve as the grand marshal of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series.
Dungy will give the command for Indy car drivers to start their engines, effectively kicking off the 17-race NTT IndyCar Series season, from the passenger seat in a Honda-powered two-seat Indy car known as “Honda's Fastest Seat in Sports.” Once Dungy gives the command, he’ll lead the parade lap ahead of the rest of the field in the Honda Indy car, driven by racing legend Mario Andretti.
“I am honored to kick off the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season by serving as the grand marshal of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg inaugural race, and leading the field to the green flag in Honda's Fastest Seat in Sports,” said Dungy, a Tampa, Florida, resident who coached the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl XLI championship. “After Sunday’s race, I am looking forward to watching NBC Sports’ coverage this season, but especially the legendary Indianapolis 500, coming to us from my second home, Indianapolis, Indiana.”
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg airs live Sunday on NBCSN (12:30 p.m. ET) and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Klaus succeeding St. Cyr as HPD president
Ted Klaus, vice president of Honda R&D Americas, has been named president of Honda Performance Development, effective April 1. He will succeed Art St. Cyr, who also came to HPD from Honda R&D Americas in 2012, and completes a seven-year tenure as president of the wholly-owned subsidiary and racing arm of American Honda.
“Like Art, I come to HPD from Honda R&D,” Klaus said. “I’m looking forward to working with everyone at HPD and our partner teams, and doing my part to add to the legacy of Honda and Acura in North American racing.”
Klaus, who holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, joined Honda at its Ohio research and development center in 1990. He immediately began a two-year assignment at the company’s R&D facility in Tochigi, Japan, as part of the team responsible for the 1994 Acura Integra.
Upon returning to Ohio, Klaus contributed to the chassis performance of a variety of Honda R&D Americas-developed models, including the Acura CL and TL, Honda Accord Coupe, Acura MDX and Honda Ridgeline. Klaus then focused on overall vehicle performance, where his team developed systems now used in in a variety of Honda and Acura products. In 2010, Klaus was named division director of Complete Vehicle Performance for Honda R&D Americas. Shortly after that, he took on a major responsibility as the global development leader of the all-new, second-generation Acura NSX. Klaus took on his current responsibilities as vice president of Honda R&D Americas in 2017.
Completing his seven-year tenure at HPD president, St. Cyr will return to American Honda’s corporate offices in Torrance, California, where he will assume new duties as a vice president and business unit head of auto operations for American Honda, responsible for product planning, public relations and logistics.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at HPD immensely. It seems like the past seven years have just flown by,” said St. Cyr. “While I’m pleased to go out on a ‘high note’ with last year’s run of 11 race wins and manufacturers’ championship, I will miss the daily contact with everyone in the paddock and garage area. I will certainly keep up with the sport, and all of HPD’s efforts. Once racing gets in your blood, it never goes away.”
The Dan Wheldon Memorial Pro-Am Karting Challenge will return to New Castle Motorsports Park for the fourth time on Sunday, May 5. The event has been a popular one with the racers and sponsors of INDYCAR, many of whom were close friends and competitors of Wheldon during his racing career and are glad to be able to give back and support the fundraiser. Early driver participants include reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon along with fellow drivers James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden. The event is free for spectators and an autograph session is held for fans prior to the race. ... Hong Kong-based shipping conglomerate Flex-Box, an international leader in innovation and development of shipping containers, will join Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa as a sponsor for the team’s first race with Ed Jones in the No. 20 Chevrolet at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.