A champion of passion and success, professional race car driver Mario Gabriele Andretti (1940-) was born on this day in the small village of Montona, Italy.
He and his twin brother Aldo began Formula Junior Racing at age 13, then moved with their family to Pennsylvania and lived the American Dream by passionately pursuing stock and midget car racing.
"If everything's under control, you're just not going fast enough," he once said.
Called the most versatile and accomplished driver of all time, Andretti won four USAC-CART titles (1965-1966, 1969, 1984), the Formula One World Championship (1978), Daytona 500 (1967), Indianapolis 500 (1969), and three victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring sports-car race.
"Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal," said the distinguished racer who took his fourth Indy Car championship at age 46, generally considered over-the-hill for drivers.
With each race, he believed he would succeed. "To be able to follow through and endure, that's what you have to do," he said. "You must have that belief in yourself. That's the only chance you have."
The charismatic legend retired from competition at the end of the 1994 season. But the dynasty continues. Son Michael has become a top racer. His other son Jeff and nephew John have also shown the Andretti magic behind the wheel. In February 2009 he recommended his 22-year-old grandson Marco for a future Formula One ride.
"The crashes people remember, but drivers remember the near misses," Andretti said. "While life is not always fair, it is manageable. It is a matter of attitude and confidence."
Pursue goals with unrelenting passion!