Mario Andretti to give command Racing legend Mario Andretti will give the starting command for the Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday morning, September 15.
As motorsports icons go, few measure up to Mario Andretti. He is the only man ever to win the Formula One World Championship, the Champ Car National Championship (four times), the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring (three times) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Mario took the checkered flag 111 times during his career – a career that stretched five decades.
Although he hasn’t driven competitively for several years, Mario never entirely retired and maintains constant contact with the sport, not only through the careers of his son (Michael) and his grandson (Marco), but also in his role as corporate spokesman for a number of companies, including Bridgestone Firestone, Magnaflow Exhaust and Chevron Corporation (including Texaco and Havoline). It is Texaco who will sponsor Mario’s visit to Utah; Texaco is an associate sponsor of the Sunchaser 1000. Mario has been with that company since 1989 when Texaco assumed a sponsorship position with the Newman/Haas Racing Team and Mario was piloting one of that team’s cars. The partnership has continued 18 years.
The Sunchaser 1000 will be the season finale for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, featuring the exotic Daytona Prototypes and GT classes in a 7.5-hour race on the 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park full course. It is the second-longest race of the year for the Rolex Series; only the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona is longer. Driver, team and manufacturer championships will be on the line, and the action is guaranteed to be frantic.
Prior to giving the starting command at 11:00 am Saturday, September 15, Mario will be signing autographs at the Texaco booth in the Midway at Miller Motorsports Park at 9:30 am. Anyone with an admission ticket will have access.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Utah,” said Andretti. “Miller Motorsports Park is a very highly regarded facility and I look forward to seeing it with my colleagues from Texaco.”
Miller Motorsports Park CEO and General Manager Alan Wilson said that having Andretti give the starting command for the Sunchaser 1000 will be an honor for the track.
“Certainly there are few more renowned personalities in the history of racing than Mario Andretti,” Wilson said. “We are thrilled that Texaco is presenting him as part of their sponsorship of the Sunchaser 1000 weekend and we appreciate the efforts of Chevron and Texaco to help make this possible for our fans.”
One of the featured cars in the Larry H. Miller Museum at Miller Motorsports Park is the Ford Mk IV that Andretti co-drove to victory in the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring with the late Bruce McLaren. Andretti will be reunited with this historic vehicle in the Miller Motorsports Park Club House during the weekend and will sign his photo that has a permanent place on the Legends Wall.
As part of its promotional activities surrounding the Sunchaser 1000, Texaco will be offering a “Free Ticket Friday” promotion, in which fans who purchase 8 or more gallons of gasoline at participating local Texaco stations can receive a voucher for a free $25 Trackside Admission ticket to be used in conjunction with a regular-price $25 ticket.
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race will take place on Saturday, September 15, and will be the second-longest race of the season at 7.5 hours. Other series racing during the weekend will include the KONI Challenge Series, SIRIUS Satellite Radio Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, Formula TR Pro Series and SCCA Spec Miatas.
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