Florida – With less than 90 days remaining before he retires from
active competition, auto racing legend Michael Andretti announced today
that he is issuing a limited edition autograph card and will introduce a
line of collectibles and memorabilia as part of his efforts to encourage
race fans to join him in counting down the days until his final appearance
in the Indianapolis 500.
Introducing a program titled Michael
Andretti’s Countdown to Indy, the racing veteran, who is now in his
twentieth season of competition, officially began counting down the days
until the Indy 500, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he is competing
this weekend with Andretti Green Racing’s Team 7-Eleven. Andretti
introduced the first in a line of Countdown to Indy collectibles and
limited edition items that fans can purchase at Andretti’s Signature Line
merchandise trailer at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend as well as
through Andretti’s personal website www.andretti.com. Among those
Countdown to Indy items that are immediately available are t-shirts, polo
shirts, hats and lapel pins. Limited edition diecast cars and lithographs
as well as other items, will be made available in the weeks leading up to
Andretti’s final race.
Along with this weekend’s Indy Racing League’s IndyCar Series season
opener at Homestead- Miami Speedway, Andretti will also compete at the
Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 23 and the
Indy Japan 300 on April 13, before beginning final preparations for the
Indianapolis 500 which is scheduled for May 25. As part of the countdown
activities scheduled at his last four races, Andretti will also issue 500
limited edition autograph cards at each event.
“The limited edition autograph cards are only available at Indy Racing
League’s official autograph session at each track,” says Andretti. “I
wanted on-site fans to have an opportunity to leave with something special
as a way of thanking them for supporting me and my new team and wishing me
well as I get ready for my last few races.”
After nineteen full seasons of competitive racing, Andretti announced in
late January that he would be retiring after the 2003 Indianapolis 500 in
order to focus his energy on developing his newest venture, Andretti Green
Racing, with partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree.
“I have had an amazing run over the past nineteen years and now it’s time
to focus on being a team owner,” says Andretti. “I have accomplished
almost everything I wanted to as a driver. The only thing that I have not
yet done, is win the Indy 500. I am determined to give it one last shot
this year. I am hoping that the fans who have been supporting me and
writing to me over the years will join me in this countdown to Indy and
will help me make the last race of my career the most memorable ever.”
With a racing record that includes 15 IndyCar Series seasons with at least
one victory; 309 CART starts (for which he is the series all-time leader);
311 IndyCar starts; 6,623 career laps led including 398 laps led at the
Indianapolis 500 in six races (which leaves him 12th on the all time laps
led list and most of any driver who has yet to win the race); 13
Indianapolis 500 starts and the1991 CART Championship, Andretti remains
one of the most dominant and important drivers in American racing history.
“I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career and I have so many
reasons to thank fans for all that they have done to support me and
IndyCar racing. We’ve got a lot of things planned for the next couple of
months as I get ready for the Indy 500 and I’m looking forward to
participating in activities that revolve around and celebrate race fans.
They’ve been with me since Day One, and I am very grateful for their
support. I’d really like to win the 500 for all of them as well.”
Countdown to Indy merchandise can be purchased at Homestead-Miami Speedway
this weekend as well as at Phoenix International Raceway from March 21 –
23 and at the Andretti merchandise trailer throughout the month of May.
Items are also available on www.andretti.com. Andretti’s website will also
begin running short features, statistics and narratives highlighting
Andretti’s favorite racing memories, in the near future.
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